Global agriculture innovation on display at E-Tipu IFAMA 2023

// Industry

Recently held in Christchurch, the E-Tipu IFAMA Conference 2023 brought together global leaders, farmers, industry experts and researchers from the agriculture and food sectors to discuss the latest research and innovation.

e tipu conference

Launched in 2019, E Tipu: The Boma Agri Summit has become a highly anticipated annual event where people passionate about agriculture gathers to learn, inspire, connect and collaborate.

In 2023, E-Tipu joined forces with IFAMA to bring the E-Tipu IFAMA 2023 World Conference to Christchurch and the world, virtually. 

The 2023 talks will be available soon on the official website. Below are some of the key themes discussed.

Sustainable agriculture

The subject of sustainability spanned the entire programme and was linked to minimising environmental impact, ensuring food security, and promoting social equity. 

Guest speakers discussed various approaches, including technology’s role in our sustainable future and leveraging technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence-driven solutions to mitigate climate change risks.

Future Farmers Co-chairs Aimee Blake and Finn Ross closed the first day discussing the young group’s vision and supporting policies for New Zealand’s future agriculture, one that supports people, profit and the planet – access the manifesto here.

Climate change resilience was another topic zoned into by Nathalie Whitaker, Co-founder of Toha. Whitaker, who is living in Tairāwhiti, spoke about the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle and the urgent need to build resilience against climate change. She sees farmers and growers as our climate heroes. 

Digital and tech solutions / transformations

Aidan Connolly, President of AgriTech Capital, predicts that technology will transform agriculture more in the next ten years than in the last ten thousand. 

Connolly shared some of the technologies that he thinks will immensely impact agriculture in the near future, some of which include 3D printing, robotics, drones, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, Internet of Things (IoT) and block chain. 

Mike Casey, CEO of NZ Zero and a Central Otago cherry farmer shared how his business is the first 100% zero fossil-fuel orchard. He walked attendees through the reality of what worked, what didn’t, how much it cost and why it has been worthwhile.

Ensuring food safety and traceability throughout the supply chain through technology was a key concern at the conference. Discussions centred around leveraging technology to implement robust traceability systems, enhancing quality control measures, and promoting good agricultural practices. The importance of consumer trust and engagement in supporting transparent food systems was also emphasised.

Circular economy and reducing waste

Addressing the issue of waste and promoting a circular economy was a central theme at the conference. Experts explored innovative strategies for reducing post-harvest losses, improving food processing and packaging techniques, and implementing effective waste management systems.

Food security, warm homes and water is the next generation’s most important thing to them said Lisa Tumahai, Kaiwhakahaere, Tribal Parliament of Ngā Tahu who opened the conference. 

Tumahai spoke about the need for a Te Ao Māori – the Māori world view – to take an intergenerational approach to the future of food and fibre sector. 

Meat Business Women Young Leaders’ Panel

On the morning of 19 June, around 60 women working in New Zealand’s red meat sector gathered for a Meat Business Women breakfast panel comprised of young industry leaders.

The panel included Lucy Atkinson (Alliance Group), Harriet Watson (ANZCO Foods), Nika Schroeder (MIA Scholar & Masters student), Grace Mainwaring (PWC), and was facilitated by Stephanie Manning (General Manager, People & Culture for Alliance Group).

Panellists shared their advice and suggestions for getting more young people into the sector. These included promotion of the variety of roles available as well as mentoring and shadowing opportunities. 

They highlighted the importance of telling our New Zealand farming story when marketing products overseas and in New Zealand supermarkets through creative packaging and displays. 

Other discussions focused on our sustainability story, connecting farmers to markets and the importance of drawing on a range of skillsets and experiences to ensure the industry keeps evolving.

The event was sponsored by Alliance Group and supported by B+LNZ, B+LNZ Incorporated and Meat Industry Association of New Zealand who are territory partners of Meat Business Women NZ.