Australia welcomes direct investment in agtech and foodtech projects, as well as research collaborations and trials. Australia’s regulatory framework supports a strong intellectual property protection regime and provides government support for research and commercialisation activities.

In addition to private investors looking for a commercial stake in new technologies, Australia offers solutions and partnership opportunities to uplift the value of existing operations, improve efficiencies and meet changing consumer preferences. Examples include:

  • food manufacturers seeking to source novel ingredients or processing innovation that will help differentiate their products
  • multinational corporations looking to leverage Australian expertise and build capacity and presence in global supply chains from Australia
  • enterprises and nations seeking education, equipment and technology services in agricultural production and food innovation to build their own capability
  • technology businesses seeking opportunities to trial and further develop their solutions in a varied environment.

Entering the Australian market

Austrade’s investor guide provides information for international investors and businesses on investing and operating in Australia.

Research collaborations

Australia is a global leader in foundational agricultural research and offers exceptional opportunities in breakthrough research and technology solutions and partnerships.

International companies can collaborate with:

  • world-class universities: The agricultural research of 24 Australian universities is rated as world-class and above. In terms of IP commercialisation, agricultural research generates the second largest source of income for Australian universities, behind only medical and health sciences
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO): Agriculture & Food is the largest division of Australia’s world-renowned national science agency. CSIRO is the country’s largest patent holder and has a formidable track record of converting research into globally adopted commercial solutions.
  • dedicated agriculture and food innovation hubs: Australia has agriculture and food innovation hubs in most states and territories covering everything from food research to field robotics
  • Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs): These 15 organisations invest in research and in some cases marketing to support the profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of Australia’s rural industries. This often includes investing or co-investing in trials and extension activities that aid Australia’s agricultural industries, including cotton, grains, fisheries, horticulture, red meat and pork.

You can search for Australian inventors, world leading research, unique technologies, commercialisation opportunities and collaborators on the growAG website.

Australian governments offer a range of incentives, grants and pilot programs encouraging meaningful collaboration between industry and research institutions.

These support project-specific through to long-term, multi-partner initiatives, and include the R&D Tax Incentive; Accelerating Commercialisation grants; Australian Research Council Linkage Projects scheme; Cooperative Research Centres program; and Food Innovation Australia's matched funding program.

Investment in R&D is helping Pernod Ricard Winemakers to evolve and enhance its products. Innovation drives new product development or research on how to improve production techniques and environmental sustainability.

Product trials

Australia is an attractive destination for international companies to test and develop new technology and food products. Australia offers novel, functional and high-quality ingredients and innovative processing and packaging solutions to help international companies differentiate their products in a globally competitive market.

The country’s diverse agricultural production environments and products, as well as counter-seasonality to the Northern Hemisphere, means companies can trial solutions all year round. Companies can find trial partners through research institutions, accelerators and industry groups including RDCs and agronomy service providers.

Costa Group, Australia’s leading horticulture company, is an exemplar of how an Australian business has implemented a transformative change program underpinned by digital investment.

“Technology has been adopted across every stage of Costa’s production – from biotech seed selection, to climate sensors and data analytics. Technology is also used for crop and yield predictions, closed system vertical farming, climate prediction, and the digitised sorting of produce and selection for packaging.”

Harry Debney, CEO, Costa Group

Sourcing investment dealflow

The Australian Government has actively stimulated the growth of Australia’s venture capital and equity market through policy mechanisms and programs including the Venture Capital Limited Partnerships. Australia’s venture capital market has doubled in total size from 2016 to 2017 alone.

An increasing number of local and international equity investors have explored and invested into Australian agtech and foodtech opportunities, created funds and/or established Australian-based scouts. There are plenty of investment opportunities for international firms and a growing pool of local co-investors.

Austrade maintains a register of Australian agricultural investment opportunities, pre-assessed in terms of investment-readiness. For further information, contact Austrade.