FEATURE: Brisbane hosts Australia’s largest agricultural innovation event, creating opportunities for ag-tech suppliers and investors

Words by David Stradling - Sales Director, One CMG

GFIA in Focus

Come 27 to 28 November, Brisbane will see 2,000 delegates from across Australia visit the city for what is the inaugural ‘in Focus’ event under the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) series.

Not only will this be the first GFIA event to take place on Australian shores, but it’s also the first of its kind on this side of the world.

Traditionally held in Abu Dhabi, the GFIA was launched in 2014 as a kind of dedicated trade fair platform tailored specifically towards manufacturers and suppliers in the food and agriculture sector looking to extend market position through direct communication with farmers, growers and distributors across the region.

The event also facilitates discussion around the technologies that could change the way food is produced, taking into account the need for sustainability and food security in the face of expanding global populations and diminishing natural resources.

Our vision was always to have a series of spin off events around the world to focus on specific areas of technology. Last year we launched the first edition of the show in Europe, GFIA Europe, and now as we finalise the program for the GFIA in Focus event in Brisbane things are really starting to get exciting.

Why Brisbane?

Choosing Brisbane as the host city came naturally. While we engaged with different cities around Australia before selecting Brisbane, Queensland’s capital stands out for many reasons - including a strong economy, a pro-business policy environment, an excellent expo centre and world-class research and education facilities.

Of course, Queensland is also the largest supplier of fresh fruit and vegetables to Australian consumers (producing 24 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Australia), and is a major producer of livestock and livestock products (making up 43 per cent of Australia’s total meat exports).

But most importantly for us was that we wanted an environment that is progressive, right on the doorstep of where we will be able to bring in the visitors from.

Brisbane is best positioned to cater to the growing demands of the Asia Pacific market, as the closest major Australian east coast capital city to Asia and home to one of Australia’s fastest-growing container ports, the Port of Brisbane.

It is also just a short flight away for those who need to travel from New South Wales or Victoria to participate.

So far, we’ve found that we've had a very, very warm reception from stakeholders all across Queensland.

The GFIA in Focus already has significant support from local stakeholders such as The University of Queensland, the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture & Food Innovation and the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia. We are also proud to be a sponsor of the city’s Future Food Strategy.

And it’s clear the timing for this forum couldn’t be better. The Queensland Government displays strong support for agri-innovation, which is critical to the wellbeing of the industry, with a goal to double agricultural output in Queensland by 2040.

The Australian Government also wants Australian agriculture to become a $100 billion industry by 2030. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated that the two ways to achieve this are ‘growing sustainably’ whereby the industry should be carbon neutral by 2050 and ‘unlocking new technology’ with a favorable tax and policy environment for innovation.

The first step in a long-term investment

GFIA in Focus

For us, we want to deliver a successful event - successful for our exhibitors, for our sponsors, and for all of our key stakeholders. That's essential. Then, going forward, we have plans to develop the show significantly in the next year or two, and to get it to a stage where it will be the agritech/agribusiness event that everybody in the industry in Australia attends.

Our goal will be to drive the show so that it grows and grows. This is the first move in what will be a long-term commitment on our part.

I think that long term, because of Brisbane's positioning in this market segment, it's very committed to showing itself or portraying itself as a sustainably-minded, innovations-driven city, and this event is one more cog in that overall strategy.

The original GFIA event in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region is now seen as the most progressive business-to-business, business-to-end-user event in the agriculture technology sector.

Similarly, we have no doubt Brisbane will be a huge success in the years to come, with the event drawing in increasing numbers of visitors to the city each year and putting Brisbane on the map as an even bigger and better place to do agribusiness than ever before.

GFIA In Focus - what to expect on the day

GFIA in Focus

At the GFIA In Focus in Brisbane there are two core themes in terms of our technology focus: controlled environments and protected cropping as well as precision agriculture and smart farming.

So far, we've got lots of exhibitors locked in, including businesses, suppliers, manufacturers and innovators. There will also be research and development centres, universities and so much more.

There will be two main stage areas for presentations relevant to the two different technology streams, as well as a major innovation theatre, which is set up for tech-style presentations by exhibitors and other innovators.

Exhibitors will include some of Australia’s brightest start-ups who will be displaying and demonstrating their latest solutions for sustainable agriculture - some for the very first time.

All in all, it is a great opportunity for Brisbane’s businesses and entrepreneurs to gain information, advice and connections by hearing from industry experts, and it will open up many business opportunities for ag-tech suppliers and investors alike.

We are giving 2,000 tickets away to food producers, policy makers and investors - delivering vast business opportunity to ag-tech suppliers that are positioned to increase supply into markets that are expected to experience significant growth over the next few years.

For more information, visit the website, or register here.

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