The Government wants to make the $1.5 billion agritech sector even more profitable and has announced plans to bolster innovation and productivity in the industry.

Acting Economic Development Minister David Parker said there was huge potential to evolve the agriculture sector by focusing on agritech – a technology first approach to agriculture.

This morning, he released the From the Knowledge Wave to the Digital Age: Growing Innovative Industries in New Zealand report, which charts the challenges and opportunities the economy is responding to.

It has a specific focus on agriculture and how technology can be used to bolster productivity.

"Growing innovative industries is a key focus of the Government's broader economic strategy," Parker said.

He added that the agritech sector has been chosen as a key focus because it brings together two of New Zealand's key competitive advantages.

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Those are New Zealand's expertise in agriculture, and horticulture with the country's well-educated workforce.

"It's not rocket science, but we are good at that too! Left field surprises like RocketLab will always be part of the New Zealand success story."

The strategy will also help with New Zealand's transition into a low carbon economy.

It will also have a focus on areas such as research and development (R&D).

Although New Zealand has low unemployment, healthy Government surpluses and stable economic growth, productivity growth has been lagging for years.

The issue was so persistent, that the previous government set up the Productivity Commission.

Parker said focusing on agritech would help address this problem.

"Sustainably boosting productivity – creating more from our resources while staying within environmental limits – is key to raise the living standards of all New Zealanders."

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He said agritech was an excellent example of where New Zealand can make big strides.
"Strategy work is already well under way.

"This is a call to action."

And he said this was just the first step in the process.

"We expect this and plans for the other focus sectors – forestry, food and beverage and digital technology – to be implemented from 2020."