Rabobank’s SustainableAg Asia Challenge

Singapore is an incubator destination for many startups, from various industries and disciplines. Most of us would hear more of technology and financial startups communities/hubs in Singapore, there is a start-up and innovators segment in Singapore that doesn’t get that much limelight, in the agriculture technology and agriculture business. At the recent Rabobank’s SustainableAg Asia Challenge, I had the opportunity to learn more about agri-tech start-ups and innovators sector.

Rabobank’s SustainableAg Asia Challenge, supported by Rabo Foundation and Rabobank, brings banking and financial services and expertise to the agricultural industry along with technological developments to aid the agriculture industry. For this SustainableAg Asia Challenge, it drew a total of 138 submissions from a wide variety of technology start-ups and businesses in the food supply chain, from farming, food and agriculture traders, food companies and retailers. They used modern technology, data-driven technology, analysis and interconnectivity to develop market ready smart farming techniques to meet increased food demand in the Asia continent. The topic on food and demand is getting more important, due to our increasing world population size and global warming affecting agriculture output.

On the marathon Pitch Day, 14 shortlisted companies presented their solutions to a judging panel comprising senior management of Rabobank Foundation, as well as senior representatives of SustainableAg Asia Challenge partner companies ADB Ventures, Archer Daniels Midland, Bayer, Bits & Bites, COFCO International, DSM, Future Group, Olam International, and Temasek.

The winner was Stellapps Technologies from India, with its SmartMoo solution.

“Our application is aimed at driving digitization of the dairy sector through captured data from the entire supply chain, significantly enhancing income, profitability and yield per cow of famers in emerging economies,” said Umesh Parjapat, Program Manager at Stellapps Technologies.

During the media interview session with Umesh Parjapat, Program Manager at Stellapps Technologies, it was very interesting to hear more in-depth details from Umesh, on modern cutting edge technology being applied in the agriculture/food supply chain industry, they are a one-stop diary supply chain digitisation via Internet of Things (IoT), their expansion plans and future developments.

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Albert Boogaard, Head of Innovation at Rabo Foundation, said: “What’s happening in Asia in terms of scale and focus on the end users is really impressive. Overall, the judges were greatly impressed by the innovation, passion and commitment shown by participants of SustainableAg Asia Challenge. These technologies and new business models can serve as catalysts for Asia’s diverse and fragmented food and agriculture industry, providing food and agri companies with the means to reinvigorate food production with smart farming, more effective and efficient processing and distribution techniques, as well as improving lives for smallholder farmers throughout Asia.”

Diane Boogaard, Rabobank Asia’s CEO, said: “Data and innovation are key in driving the changes needed to improve food and agri supply chains, thereby creating more sustainable food production. Through the SustainableAg Asia Challenge we want to connect innovative solutions with our corporate clients to drive sustainability and integrity in agri-food supply chains. As a major cooperative Food & Agri bank, enabling the change to a more sustainable food supply chain is core to our mission of ‘growing a better world together’. We do this by providing access to our knowledge, networks and financing solutions.”

Having covered start-ups from different industries, I slowly expanded my coverage of start-ups and this segment of agri-tech start-ups and innovators is something new to me since Singapore doesn’t have much of a farming/agriculture industry due to our small land size, as well Singapore start-ups sector tends to be more pro towards other sectors as compared to the agri-tech sector.

We, human beings, love to eat yet we might have neglected the agriculture, food production, food supply sectors. In light of an increasing world population, climate change affecting food production and supply, I feel that some spotlight would now turn towards the agriculture, food production and food supply sector. With modern technology, innovation and data, agri-tech can help to improve sustainability in food production and supply, in a challenging limited natural resources landscape meeting with an increasing world population.

I strongly encourage people to visit and find out more about the SustainableAg Asia Challenge by Rabobank at: www.sustainableag.asia

* Information courtesy of Rabobank *

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