New Westpac senior relationship manager roles in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide are recognition of the bank’s commitment to the food and fibre value chain, plus global trends in vertical urban farming and precision agriculture.
Westpac’s agribusiness general manager, Steve Hannan said the recent appointments ensured a strong metropolitan presence to support and identify solutions and options end-to-end from farmgate to post farmgate.
They would also promote better flow of information and collaboration throughout the food and fibre value chain.
“We are witnessing an evolution in how metropolitan Australia is embracing the agricultural sector in its many forms,” he said.
“Globally, we are already seeing a dynamic shift in agricultural focus towards metropolitan farming, the use of new technologies and sustainable practices to ensure the prosperity of our agricultural sector in Australia.
“It is clear here, as in other parts of the world, we are looking at cities as food producers of the future.”
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated by 2050, food production worldwide will need to increase by 70 per cent.
Mr Hannan believes it is this need, and a growing focus on sustainable and environmentally conscious food production, which is helping to drive global and local interest in vertical farming and other technologies.
“The new 100-hectare urban farm planned for Shanghai is an example of the global shift towards vertical farming.
“The project is designed to meet the food needs of almost 24 million people while also operating as a centre for innovation and education in urban agriculture,” he said.
“Locally, Australians are becoming increasingly aware and concerned about where their food is grown and placing more importance on food grown sustainably, responsibly and locally.
“Vertical farming is a response to increasing food demands of urban populations,” he said.
“As Westpac celebrates its strong 200-year history as one of Australia’s leading agricultural business partners, we continue to leverage innovation and new technologies as well as our expertise and highly skilled teams on-ground where our customers need it most.”