Thursday, 02 June 2022 11:25

Govt invests in biosecurity app

Written by  Staff Reporters
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor. Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

The Government has committed an investment of $4 million over four years to expand a biosecurity readiness and response app developed by Onside Ltd.

The funding comes from the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund (SFF Futures).

“As a trading nation and one with an abundance of unique plants and wildlife, biosecurity is fundamental to our economic security,” Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor says.

O’Connor says primary sector exports support the growth of the New Zealand economy.

“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.”

He says Onside’s biosecurity software (OSI) uses data from a range of sources to map out rural interactions and potential disease pathways in a way he says is faster than previously possible, which O’Connor says could save the country hundreds of millions of dollars by helping the speed of a response.

“Our investment together with Onside’s $6 million contribution means a quick scale-up and adoption by the sector.”

Onside began in 2016 as a visitor management and health and safety tool, providing a digital check-in to keep track of farm visitors.

It has since evolved into a comprehensive operations software for all rural sectors.

Onside is already used on over 14,000 properties with wide use in the kiwifruit sector and is gaining traction in the viticulture sector.

The funding is set to support Onside to grow these further while continuing to develop the OSI algorithms and technology in collaboration with some of the world’s top data scientists.

“We’ve shown with the success of the Mycoplasma bovis programme what we can achieve together when an incursion happens, but we want to reduce risk as much as possible to prevent the costs and effects for individual farmers and growers,” says O’Connor.

“We’re proud to back this programme, which is paving the way towards providing biosecurity solutions that protect our environment, our animals and our economic security.”

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