The Land

Food and agri sector's leap into the future

I-RABOT: The Rabo Robot was a high light of the event. Producers had a great time interacting with this clever little fella, who could not only mimic some human movements but also hold a basic conversation.

Story sponsored by Rabobank.

An agricultural revolution is taking place in Australia as the food and agri sector explores innovative ways to feed a growing global population using more sustainable methods.

It's a revolution that kicked into even higher gear at Rabobank's Farm2Fork Summit at Sydney's Cockatoo Island on March 28, when cutting-edge ideas were unveiled, probed and prodded by producers, food and agri entrepreneurs, and industry trailblazers from around the world.

They left no stone unturned as they delved into everything from robotics and ag tech to sustainable farming methods, food waste reduction and alternative foods.

It was a fascinating day revealing a mind-boggling future, a future that will require the food and agri sector to take a huge leap - one that Rabobank Global Chairman Wiebe Draijer likened to mankind taking its first step on the moon.

From Mr Draijer's opening address at Farm2Fork, it was clear that he doesn't doubt that the sector can and will take that leap.

"The question isn't whether we have a challenge, it's how we can get it done. It will be done!" he told the audience of more than 1300 people.

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: The audience were on tenterhooks for the entire day, as some of the planet's sharpest minds delivered presentation after fascinating presentation on not only the biggest challenges facing the industry but also the potential solutions.

And just how it will be done became clearer as speaker after speaker took to the stage to reveal:

  • Technology to be unleashed in agriculture could lead to robots doing farm work, driverless tractors and digital technology like blockchain allowing consumers to confirm where their food comes from.
  • Farmers are turning produce that would have been wasted, like substandard bananas that can't be sold, into different nutritious sources of food such as flour.
  • Farmers have the opportunity to lift their farm productivity and profitability by adopting sustainability practices like increasing vegetation and tree cover on their farms.
  • It's the consumers, such as flexitarians (eating less meat), who are really driving change in the agriculture industry.
  • Artificial intelligence is expected to contribute in areas such as indoor farming, precision irrigation, precision weeding, micro technology to identify pests and even face recognition for animals like pigs.
  • Waste is being transformed into value added products by thinking about recycling in a very different way using microfactories. Old clothing being turned into high-end building products like tiles is just one example.
TRANSFORMER: Another massive hit was the Rabotruck, which converted into a massive coffee shop/sanctuary. The Rabobank Research Team were on hand too, giving producers valuable insights into current market trends.

The revelations kept coming off the stage too, with around 30 innovative food and agri entrepreneurs demonstrating their exceptional ideas and products in the Farm2Fork Innovation Gardens. Such as:

  • Goterra helping to manage food waste in a more sustainable way by using insects to eat waste rather than it going to landfill.
  • AgriWebb is making record keeping and farm management easier by integrating on farm and off farm technology.
  • Insects are being used by Australia's largest edible insect farm and product manufacturer, Edible Bug Shop, to enrich foods we eat every day.
  • Patent-pending technology developed by ProAgni to produce antibiotic-free sheep and cattle feed to improve animal nutrition and human health.
  • Aglive's technology to capture real-time data that enables digital traceability and provenance transparency of livestock to build trust across the entire supply chain.
  • Artificial intelligence from Winnow that records and analyses kitchen waste to help chefs cut food waste, save money and reduce their environmental footprint.

Get the full wrap-up on the day-long Farm2Fork Summit at

Story sponsored by Rabobank.