Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 22, 2023


evokeAG Conference

The Hon. T.T. NGO (14:55): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the evokeAG conference being held in Adelaide this week?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:55): I thank the honourable member for his question. It is fantastic for our state that the evokeAG conference is taking place in Adelaide this week. The sold-out international event brings together over 1,600 delegates from all over the world, including Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkiye, the UK, the USA and Uruguay.

Delegates are made up of farmers, innovators, researchers, universities, corporates, investors and government with the aim of together making lasting impacts and creating change for the future of food and farm through the progress of agrifood tech in Australia and, indeed, in the world.

The state government has proudly provided $110,000 in sponsorship for the event and I think it's money very well spent, with the 1,600 delegates and others working at or attending the event and also at side events, spending time and money in our hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions, all the while seeing for themselves why South Australia has the incredible reputation that it does for clean, green, high-quality produce.

I am also pleased that the federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon. Murray Watt, attended today and I had the pleasure of briefly catching up with him at the conference. evokeAG boasts 125 speakers from eight countries and has brought together 40 startups, selected in the evokeAG Startup Program, from around the world. The event is focusing on driving face-to-face connections, collaboration, investment and agritech adoption.

The theme for this year's event in Adelaide is Down to Earth, which I find fitting, not just for the agriculture reference but it reflects too, I think, our nature here as South Australians and also many in our primary production industries. They care deeply about our state and the important role that they play in it.

We know that agtech and its broader adoption is a huge part of the future success for primary production in our state and, indeed, around the world. Farmers are realising the opportunities that agricultural technologies can bring to their businesses, allowing producers to have better control of their inputs and resource allocation, optimising farm management practices to maximise outputs and quality, and also minimising risks.

It was great to hear that some delegates were able to visit the South-East recently to see the Best Practice Demonstration Farm at Struan and Kybybolite, and more visits will take place at demonstration farms at Loxton and Nuriootpa this week to see technology in use to support viticulture, citrus and horticulture.

I was very pleased to be able to visit the PIRSA stand while I was there today. Among other things, they are providing samples of South Australian produce, which was wonderful to see, and they were also demonstrating the online demonstration farms where we were able to link to the various agtech that's available—I was looking at the Struan one, which I visited last year—and click on each individual part of the different kind of agtech that was there and get some information about it.

Speaking on Monday as well as today, I encouraged delegates to explore our wonderful state while they are here and to share their skills and knowledge while learning from our many world-class primary producers. I would like to say well done to all of the organisers and all of those involved for a hugely successful evokeAG 2023.