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Growing innovation

New Zealand’s first large-scale vertical farm for lettuce and leafy greens is about to start operations in Hamilton.

Greengrower’s 6200m2 facility is based at Waikato Innovation Park and promises major benefits over conventional farming.

Controlled Environment Farming (CEF) creates optimal growing conditions to produce crops that are high-quality, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective. Output at the new facility is anticipated to match what would otherwise require 240 times more land area using traditional farming.  

Heart of agritech  

The Technology Investment Network (TIN) recently profiled 22 of New Zealand’s leading agritech companies, as determined by revenue. TIN’s research found that in 2021, those 22 companies generated revenue totalling $1.6 billion, of which more than 65% can be attributed to six Hamilton-based industry leaders: Gallagher Group, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), TOMRA Fresh Foods, NDA Group, Waikato Milking Systems and Rezare Systems.

TIN’s research also showed the average wage at Waikato-based agritech companies was 11% ahead of the sector-wide average across New Zealand, reflecting the advanced nature of our agritech businesses and the top talent they employ.  

Agritech sector snapshot

Fieldays 

This year, Fieldays shifts from its usual mid-June timeframe to a one-off early summer gathering. A mainstay in the Waikato since 1969 and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event, Fieldays serves as an international marketplace to advance the country’s agricultural and primary sectors.

The four-day event is also increasingly viewed as a launching platform for cutting edge technology and innovation. With large crowds anticipated in 2022, Fieldays continues to solidify the Waikato as New Zealand’s heart of agriculture and agritech.  

Waikato Innovation Park

Waikato Innovation Park is a dynamic 170,000m2 campus located 10 minutes from Hamilton’s city centre. The park’s focus is on agritech, food processing, and environmental and information technology businesses. The recent completion of infrastructure improvements along Ruakura Road ensures seamless access to the newly completed Waikato Expressway for employees and customers.

Find out more about Hamilton's economic development

Data Sources: TIN 2022 New Zealand Agritech Insights Report, Hamilton City Council research 

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