Category Archives: Smart Agriculture

World Wetland Day – Celebrate at Matuku Link

NZ Wetlands – only 90% left due to urban encroachment.

Celebrate World Wetland Day at Matuku Link!

World Wetland Day is worth celebrating, especially since we don’t have much of if left in New Zealand. Easy to drain for farming or houses, over 90% of our wetlands have gone, and with it the habitat for our native birds and insect.

Matuku Link joins World Wetland Day at the long Waitangi Weekend, with a host of activities on Saturday 3rd of February from 9am to 3pm. Stalls, food, coffee, walks, talks… the opportunity to see the changes since we bought the property last year and have spend over 4000 volunteer hours improving the place.

Try to find one of our wandering Pateke (brown teal) or spot a secretive banded rail or even our namesake Matuku (bittern), have a look at the plans for the barn, the fundraising opportunities and maybe even buy a plant!

We’d love you to join us on this special day.

Annalily & the trustees from Matuku Link – John Sumich, John Staniland, Chad Wilkie and Geoff Davidson.

Fighting Food Insecurity, Waste, and Unsustainable Food Systems

The Good Kitchen, launched last year as Europe’s first accelerator program for social startup businesses tackling food insecurity and food poverty issues, has selected its first five enterprises from an initial intake of more than 100 applicants.

The program offers low-interest loans up to a maximum of €75,000 ($84,000) per business, alongside social investment, business support, access to key markets and mentorship.

London-based The Good Kitchen selected its first five ‘winners’ on the basis that they each offer “highly scalable and sustainable solutions that can reshape our food system and help everyone, everywhere, eat an adequate, healthy and sustainable diet.”

The successful five startups are Bump Mark, a Uk startup developing food freshness checker; Cultivando Futuro, a Colombian agro-commerce platform for smallholder farmers; Entocycle, a UK animal feed developer growing insects with ‘up-cycled’ food waste; Fazla Gida, a Turkish online platform that gives supermarkets a quick, easy and profitable way to offer unsold products online to food banks and humanitarian organisations; and Make Kit, a UK project that provides people with affordable and conveniently distributed recipe kits.

Core funding for Good Kitchen is provided by the UK charity, KellyDeli Foundation. The foundation receives 1% of the profits generated by the KellyDeli business, which is a handmade sushi kiosk business in Europe. Other individuals and businesses, including some from the food sector, who believe in the need to tackle food security and food poverty concerns, have also contributed to the program.

The program’s total first-year investment is estimated to be €250,000, made up of individual loans ranging from €30,000 to €60,000, plus the provision of zero-fee support to the successful applicants. A second program call is scheduled for early next year, although it could take place sooner if sufficient additional funding becomes available.

Loans, advanced on a ‘patient capital’ basis, typically charge 1% APR with repayment to be made over no more than five years. In the positive case of a supported business advancing to its own Series A funding round, it would be expected that the program loan would be repaid immediately.

“We won’t be taking an equity stake in any of the businesses attached to the program,” Joseph Gridley, head of the KellyDeli Foundation, told AgFunderNews. “Because this is a development where social impact comes first, we believe that ideas are the best way to change the world, not organizations. In that context, we also believe it’s important to allow ideas to spread as rapidly as possible, reasoning that if we had an equity stake in these businesses we might, in some way, slow down their rate of growth.”

Good Kitchen opened its first call for applications in February this year, reducing the 100 responses it received to a short-list of 19 real contenders before putting each applicant through a venture capital-style assessment. These survivors were also subjected to detailed examination by a ‘jury’ of 15 specialists, including investment bankers and food sector executives.

“In assessing all the main contenders, we were looking for organizations that had objective proof their solution was capable of delivering social impact related to food security or food poverty,” said Gridley.

“We wanted to find enterprises with a sustainable and strong business model, with traction either in terms of revenue or predicted sales, driven by a great team in which we could place our trust. It was also important that the market opportunity for each selected project, product or service was big enough for it to make a big impact on the food security and food poverty issues on which we are focused.”

Commenting that 30 of the original applications were ‘terrible,’ followed by 30 that could be termed ‘good,’ Gridley said selecting a winning five from about 40 ‘very good’ projects and ideas, was a tough task. Even at the end of the process, at least five potentially supportable enterprises had to be turned away.

“We decided to start small in our first year with the aim of discovering how best to help social businesses achieve their potential,” he said. “Maybe in the future we’ll be able to work with an increased number each year.”

Gridley is very positive about the chosen five. Here are some of his comments on each:

Bump Mark (UK): “The information we use to decide when to throw food away is inaccurate. Conservative expiry dates cost retailers tremendous amounts as they throw away up to 16% of their stock on short-life products. Bump Mark is a food freshness checker that reacts to the environment around it, just like fresh food does and updates itself. The label is checked by touch; when it’s smooth – your food is fresh. If you feel bumps – then it’s time to bin. The label only goes ‘bad’ when your food does too.”

Cultivando Futuro (Colombia): “The team behind Cultivando Futuro traveled thousands of miles across Colombia listening to the stories of farmers, and learning about where the industry isn’t working in their favor. This led them to create the first agro-commerce platform, which improves the efficiency of the food supply chain by connecting all the key actors, opens up new channels for direct trading to farmers so that they can gain access to better market opportunities, and guides the industry through big data analysis and open data visualization.”

Entocycle (UK): “The current farming system is heavily reliant on protein from dwindling fish stocks and land intensive soya to produce the animals we humans eat. Entocycle is harnessing 150 million years of nature’s research and development to produce a solution to feeding the world. They believe that insect protein is the future of farming and are using the Black Soldier Fly to ‘up-cycle’ organic food waste into a sustainable protein feed alternative for aquaculture and livestock, and simultaneously surpassing current waste processing alternatives.”

Fazla Gida (Turkey): “Food waste is a cost not only for producers but also for warehouses, logistics operators and food waste solution providers. To prevent catastrophic levels of food waste, the Turkish government offers a 100% tax deduction incentive to companies donating surplus foods. Through its donation platform, Fazla Gida takes into account the economic, ethical and environmental issues around food waste, and provides professionals in the food industry with the opportunity to offer their unsold but safe-to-eat products online to food banks. Its process also helps food companies to claim their 100% tax deductions, with 50% of the value gained being passed back to Fazla Gida.”

Make Kit (UK): “In the UK, approximately a third of children are obese or overweight by the time they leave primary school. The problem worsens for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Make Kit creates recipe kits, which are partly subsidized, making them affordable for people on a tight budget. They are also building on recipes created for and by the local community and sold at accessible locations such as community centers, doctor surgeries, nurseries, community cooking events, and in areas with high levels of obesity and health inequality.”

New Zealand’s most innovative tech companies named – Hi Tech Awards

The finalists for the 2017 Hi-Tech Awards were announced at simultaneous events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on the 29th March.

Entries, which came from as far afield as Kaitaia and Invercargill, were up 30 per cent over last year and Wayne Norrie, chair of the Hi-Tech Trust, said the the standard of entries was also the highest seen.

The finalists will now go into a round of face-to-face judging before the winners are announced at a gala event in Auckland on 12 May..

The finalists are:

PwC Hi-Tech Company of the Year

Pushpay Holdings

Coretex Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year

Link Engine Management

New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) Hi-Tech Start-Up Company of the Year

Performance Lab

IBM Most Innovative Company

RedShield Security

Callaghan Innovation Maori Innovation Award

Origins Software
Pango Productions

Duncan Cotterill Innovative Hi-Tech Software Product

RedShield Security
Spotlight Reporting

Kiwibank Hi-Tech Innovative Services Award

Navilluso Medical
RedShield Security
Snowball Effect

Endace Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product

DARC Technologies
Shotover Camera Systems

Quick Circuit Innovative Hi-Tech Mobile Product

oDocs Eye Care
Motim Technologies

NZTE Innovative Agritech Product

PPP Industries

Xero Hi-Tech Young Achiever

Aleisha Amohia
Jamie Beaton
Kendall Flutey
Aleisha Staples

ATEED Best technology for the Creative Sector

Shotover Camera Systems

Qual IT Best technology for the Public Sector

Orion Health

Fieldays set to show off Smart Agriculture , leading change June 2017 Mystery Creek

The 2017 Fieldays Innovation Awards are now open.

The 2017 Fieldays Innovation Awards are designed to celebrate and support New Zealand’s most innovative agricultural inventions, and to showcase emerging products and technology that will lead change in the rural sector.

The Sigfox LPWAN from Thinxtra is now rolled out across Hamilton and its surrounds and the Mystery Creek area is well covered for innovative product demonstrations to the NZ and International Farming community wanting to develop Smart Agricultural products.

Opportunities are available for the local tech community to develop products that can help farmers become more efficient and productise the solutions for volume markets in other parts of the world.

Applicants showcase their ideas, designs and products at the Fieldays Innovations Centre during next year’s Fieldays, which runs over three days in June.

Fieldays Innovations event manager Gail Hendricks says since its inception 49 years ago, Fieldays has celebrated innovation and the awards are an important platform for showcasing New Zealand agricultural innovation.

“The theme for Fieldays in 2017 is ‘leading change’ and supporting innovation is vital to the future of agriculture in New Zealand,” says Hendricks.

Awards are given across multiple categories and winners will receive thousands of dollars in business support and advice to help get their innovations to market.

“This support is of immense value, giving innovators access to New Zealand’s top intellectual property and commercial lawyers, business advisors, product development and innovation consultants and others,” says Hendricks.

Hendricks says there is always significant public, business and agricultural industry interest in the Fieldays Innovation Awards.

“The Innovations Centre is probably the busiest space at Fieldays and always attracts a lot of attention,” she says.

“Every year, there is always broad media interest and the television breakfast shows broadcast from the Innovations Centre during Fieldays. The place is just buzzing.”

Hendricks says the Innovation Awards are a great opportunity for people to test their products in the market. With 130,684 visitors through the gates in 2016, Fieldays provides an opportunity to talk to future or potential customers and conduct valuable market research.

“Entrants’ products and ideas will get exposure to the people who may use it once it’s in the market, providing on the spot feedback,” says Hendricks.

“Fieldays also gives award entrants exposure to the judges, who are engineers, patent attorneys and people with exposure to the international market. A large number of companies come to see what’s there, to see what the latest thing is to buy or invest in.”

During Fieldays the Innovations Lab, which is located inside the Innovations Centre, will be set up as a dedicated space for award entrants to meet with experts such as lawyers, patent and trademark attorneys, product development consultants and other business experts for free advice and support.

“The idea is that The Lab is a space where innovators can come to thrash out ideas, seek advice or brainstorm,” Hendricks says.

Hendricks says next year will see the return of the Innovations Capital Event, where a select group of innovators are invited to the Innovations Centre to mix and mingle with investors, make contacts, ask questions, “and hopefully find someone who will support their idea or business.”

On average there are around 70 to 80 applicants for the Innovation Awards, and entries typically come from a variety of fields including dairy and dry stock farming, horticulture, information and communication technology, cloud and mobile-based software, animal health and genetics, water and waste management, environment and clean-tech, animal and farm management, farm safety and leading research.

“We get all sorts of people entering the Fieldays Innovation Awards, including farmers, engineers, business people, tinkerers and people in the high-tech sector,” says Hendricks.

“The awards offer a great opportunity for start-up companies. If you are a backyard inventor with a quirky invention for the agricultural community or if you are an established business who wants to put your new idea out there, this is a great way to do it,” she adds.

Sources – Biz Edge