Considerable opportunities exist for New Zealand agritech companies to develop business and relationships in Japan, a new NZ Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) publication says.
The agritech sector in Japan is worth over $2 billion annually and the NZ opportunities are in livestock, horticulture and dairy.
Growth in the agritech sector is being driven by an ageing workforce in farming, the drive towards national food security, shifting dietary preferences, growing international demand for Japanese foods, declining arable land and the Japanese government’s encouragement of higher productivity.
The $2b agritech sector services Japan’s primary sector worth over $90b annually.
More specifically, NZ companies need to target harvesting applications, trimming and cutting machinery, pollination, fruit and vegetable sorting, and cattle management, barn cleaning and biotech solutions.
“Opportunities exist for partnerships and investments with shared values and real support to connect with farmers. We are seeing a lot more partnerships,” NZTE said.
Japan’s farmers are not using data but continuing to rely on intuition and tradition, which the Government wants to change.
They lack soil and pasture management applications like remote-sensing technology, soil nutrient management, mapping and irrigation systems.
“Many Japanese farmers do not practise livestock management and health, animal husbandry, parasite management and do not have a good on-farm quality assurance system,” it said.
The partnership between Robotics Plus of Tauranga and Yamaha Motor on-orchard and packhouse labour-saving technology was cited by NZTE.
However, for the most part, NZ companies need to ensure agritech solutions will fit smaller-scale growers because 80% of farmers work on 2ha land parcels.
A way of forming relationships would be through Japan Agricultural Cooperatives, which holds significant influence.
Companies with established products such as tractors, pregnancy scanners, fencing tools and milking machinery, should collaborate with large, well-connected corporate partners who have the marketing budgets.
“Agritech businesses with disruptive products should collaborate with a partner who is mission-focused, ideally privately owned, and an influential innovator and disrupter in the industry,” it said.