A Financial Times article published in 2018 states that investors pumped over $700 million into agritech in 2017, compared to $332 million and $233 million in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Meanwhile, according to AgFunderNews, the global agritech sector is experiencing exponential growth and is expected to reach £217 billion by 2021, signalling that investment will likely continue to enable the sector to fulfil demand.
Some countries are experiencing investment growth, with notable support from their government, as they aim to stay competitive, while also improving their market presence in the agritech sector. Furthermore, this increasing level of investment is linked to the need for countries to deal with the challenges facing the global agricultural sector.
Examples of investment in the agritech sector in select countries:
Farming UK reports that global agritech firms such as BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta and Zoetis recently discussed opportunities of investment with the UK government, which will help drive investment in British farming. The UK agritech sector was worth an estimated £14 billion in 2017 and the country continues to experience support from the government through investments (Agfunder news) at national and local levels. This includes offering specialist guidance on skills, visas and migration as well as access to funding.
Enterprise Ireland, the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets, recently announced two initiatives that are part of its ongoing work to support agritech companies to innovate and win in international markets. The organisation also launched a Competitive Start Fund totalling up to €500,000 to support start-ups in the agritech sector. This was launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine with the aim of providing entrepreneurs with critical early-stage funding.
The Irish Government’s Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) is a grouping of capital grant schemes designed to incentivise private investment in physical farming assets as part of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020. The scheme has a total allocated budget of €395 million under the 2014-2020 RDP. To date, €73.7 million has been drawn down to modernise farming by 15,978 farmers in Ireland. This level of governmental support and investments will help Ireland become a significant actor in addressing the challenges facing the global agricultural industry.
In September 2018, New Zealand became the first country partner in Farm 2050, a global initiative that includes a collective of diverse partners committed to advancing the future of food through supporting agritech entrepreneurs and start-ups. According to Agritech New Zealand, this partnership shows the country’s commitment to providing the country’s agritech companies with improved access to connected capital.
Increased investment in a sector suggests its growth potential. Agritech continues to see increased investment, particularly in Ireland, which will support its outlook and adoption. Significant government support for agritech is expected to increase the willingness to invest so that the future farm will be dominated by technological solutions that deal with the challenges facing the agricultural industry.