Australian agtech startup SwarmFarm wins global accolade
18 Oct 2019
Australian agtech innovation was in the spotlight recently when SwarmFarm Robotics founder Andrew Bate was awarded third place in the Agripreneur of the Year contest at the 2019 Future Agro Challenge Global Championships, beating competitors from more than 60 countries.
‘The Agripreneur of the Year is the largest competition of its kind in the world and it’s an honour to be acknowledged by my peers,’ says Bate. ‘The event was also a great chance to connect and build networks with other businesses across the global agtech ecosystem.’
Queensland-based small-robotics developer SwarmFarm Robotics is one of the few businesses worldwide that has commercially deployed robots in agriculture. Farmer Andrew Bate founded the company to simplify farming and unlock the promise of autonomous agriculture.
‘The reason we got into robotics was never about automation, it was never about robotics on their own, it was about new farming systems and how we were going to take agriculture through to the next productivity wave,’ says Bate. ‘[It was about] how were we going to make agriculture more efficient, produce better crops and be better for the environment.’
SwarmFarm’s SwarmBot platform enables farmers to use ‘swarms’ of smart, mobile and automated robots to apply crop protection products, as well as mow and slash turf on farms and between orchard rows.
SwarmFarm is an example of the producer-led innovation for which Australia is renowned. According to Bate, Australia is a great destination to invest in, test and market agtech.
‘As an Australian farmer, you have to be innovative, you have to be efficient. We’ve got this really strong adoption of new technology here in Australia which makes it a perfect playground to release new technology.’
Hear more from Andrew Bate about Australia’s agtech sector.
SwarmFarm’s success builds on the win achieved by another Australian agtech company. Queensland-based AgUnity won the Agripreneur of the Year award at the 2018 Future Agro Challenge Global Championships. AgUnity helps farmers in developing countries with a blockchain and smartphone solution to build trust, reduce food waste and increase farmer efficiency.
It is estimated that up to 50% of crop value vanishes between harvest and point of sale, so farmers use AgUnity to record all contracts on a blockchain which can’t be changed. This creates transparency and ensures that prices remain fair.
By helping farmers to work together in co-operatives and collaborating with other NGOs and initiatives, AgUnity has helped increase farmer income by up to two to three times in a single season, making a profound social impact on rural communities.
Find out how Australia is shaping the future of food and agriculture.
Contact Austrade for more information about investment and partnership opportunities in Australian agtech.
Join the conversation: #AusAg40