Government contributes to biosecurity tech

Agritech company Onside has secured a $4 million co-investment from the New Zealand Government to expand and accelerate the development of its biosecurity technology.

Onside’s biosecurity software, Onside Intelligence (OSI), uses data from a range of sources and algorithms to construct an intricate rural network that’s able to map potential disease pathways and predict where incursions are likely to occur.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the four-year partnership through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund in June.

Onside has also recently partnered with Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) to implement technology that will power the Plant Pathway Plan, a programme designed to protect the $4 billion kiwifruit sector from future incursions.

KVH CEO Leanne Stewart says it is an important project.

The solution and tool the project will offer is going to add great value to growers, and improve day-to-day best biosecurity practice in a simple, innovative way.

Ryan Higgs, Onside Co-founder and CEO, says it is great to have the backing of the MPI to deliver on our mission to revolutionise biosecurity and exciting to be working with KVH to put the technology into practice.

Onside is headquartered in Christchurch, but has operations in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and its data science leadership is based in New York.

“Understanding the risk of a biosecurity incursion is a complex problem in large networks so we have sought out the best scientists in the world to work with us,” Higgs says.

In addition to its biosecurity technology, Onside provides a comprehensive digital toolkit for farms, orchards, vineyards and contractors to streamline operations and ease the burden of compliance.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says primary sector exports are supporting the growth of the economy, which is bigger than even before COVID.

“This is why we are continuously improving our systems to stop incursions from occurring, and ensuring we have the ability to quickly stamp them out if needed.

“As a trading nation and one with an abundance of unique plants and wildlife, biosecurity is fundamental to our economic security.”

Primary sector export revenue is forecast to reach a record $50.8 billion for the year ending June 2022.


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