News and Success Stories

Published 16 October 2022

Market Immersion Trip to the UK & Ireland

We’ve just returned from our market immersion mission to the UK and Ireland, where we explored the agriculture industry, research and innovation systems, trade shows and farms. and we’ve got valuable info to share with Kiwi Agritech businesses who want to enter the market.

The UK and Ireland are key markets for New Zealand’s agritech businesses, and thanks to our long-standing relationships with the two countries, New Zealand agritech is already well-known and respected in that part of the world. For companies without the right intel or connections though, cracking into these markets can still be tricky.

Windows of opportunity

The UK and Ireland have always been quite different agricultural markets. 

As new Brexit policies are slowly put in place, the British government is currently providing funding at a similar level to the EU CAP payments, but that will come to an end in 2024. At that point, it’s looking likely that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will diverge on what their subsidy schemes will look like. Ireland is still in the EU so will retain CAP funding, but they are also required to meet a newly imposed target from the Irish Government of a 25 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. 

Overall, Ireland’s agricultural sector is much more similar to New Zealand’s - we both have a major focus on grass-fed dairy and beef, with much of our production designed for the export market. The UK on the other hand is much more diversified and intensive. Much more UK produce also stays in the country - domestic production makes up 60 percent of the food Brits eat.

The differences between the UK and Ireland represent opportunities to the right Kiwi agritech companies. As always, the best way to understand these markets (and your potential customers) is to get over there and talk to farmers and other businesses directly.

Similar markets, similar pressures

Farmers across the UK and Ireland are facing remarkably similar challenges to Kiwi farmers, with subtle differences. The main pressure points are environmental challenges (and increasing regulation), access to labour, and animal welfare.

In the short term, farmers are also worried by input costs unique to agriculture - something that Michael Haverty from The Andersons Centre has coined as ‘agflation’.

Many solutions to NZ problems may well be relevant to the UK or Ireland, but the most successful companies to make the jump will be well across the subtleties in the differences between markets.

How can I get into the UK or Ireland?

If you are considering your agritech solution for these markets there are a number of places to go for help.

If you think you’ve got an idea that would suit the UK or Ireland, there are a number of agencies that would be happy to help.In the UK, the London-based NZTE office have an extensive agriculture network, and over in Ireland both NZTE and the Irish Ambassador have established networks of Kiwis working in the sector. In addition, there is great support available in the UK from agencies such as Department of International Trade (DIT). 

At Fieldays at Mystery Creek this December, there will be representation from both the UK and Ireland, and numerous companies from both there - the event will be an excellent place to begin creating some contacts.