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Qld agriculture to benefit from innovation hub

19 May 2021

Toowoomba’s new innovation hub is open for business and ready to drive the development of an emerging technology sector creating new jobs and business opportunities in Queensland agriculture.

The Queensland Government is providing $3 million in Advance Queensland funding to support the hub for three years. Then it is expected to be run by industry for industry.

The Queensland AgTech and Logistics Hub will enable Queensland farmers to tap into the benefits of agtech and help grow new businesses.

Innovation and technology are widely seen as critical to achieving the National Farmers’ Federation goal to grow Australia agriculture to a $100 billion industry by 2030.

AgTech includes emerging technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, internet-of-things, big data, remote sensor technologies and biotechnology in agriculture.

According to a 2016 KPMG report on agtech’s economic potential, the sector could be a source of technological manufacturing in Australia, exporting high tech products to a global agricultural market in need of innovative solutions.

The hub will host mentoring, specialised workshops and industry forums. It will be a site for testing technologies like drones, sensors and smart bots that are becoming so important to monitor crops, cattle and harvesting as well as inputs, such as water, fertiliser and pesticides, as producers aim for greater efficiencies.

AgTech and Logistics Hub Manager Owen Williams said he was very excited to be involved in providing a platform for startups, entrepreneurs, academia, government, industry and innovators to connect, develop and adopt real-world solutions that address the current and emerging challenges across the agricultural sector.  

“The hub will be a great platform to bridge the gap between industry challenges and problem solvers, and I believe by building, supporting, and delivering an industry led open innovation framework we will deliver on our vision of growing and diversifying the agricultural value chain,” Mr Williams said.

Fly the Farm founder Meg Kummerow said the hub would help their Toowoomba agricultural drone business to continue to evolve.  
“We see the major opportunity to collaborate with other innovators to explore new technologies that will help us deliver value to our farmers by solving their challenges”.  

Agrifood Connect will run the hub in partnership with the University of Queensland, the University of Southern Queensland, and the Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise.