Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit

International Business Development Manager, Dr Jenna Ross, attended the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit between 18th and 20th November.

The event brought together stakeholders from across the sector, including agribusinesses, food brands, growers, farmers, academics, entrepreneurs and investors, to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the Asia-Pacific agri-food system.

The event was opened by Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Alvin Tan, who gave an overview of Singapore’s ‘30 by 30’ vision to achieve 30% of the country’s nutritional needs through local production by 2030. The figure currently stands at less than 10%.

The approach for attaining this ambitious plan is through Singapore’s ‘3-A’ strategy: Advancement of research and development, infrastructure and talent; Acceleration of businesses through incubators and accelerator programmes, as well as the 1-0-1 guide for local growers; and Access via supply chain resilience.

An opening address was also given by Qu Dongyu, Director General of the FAO, who emphasised the opportunities that technologies such as big data, AI, machine learning, and SMART farming can bring to increasing crop productivity in a way that uses less water, land and energy, while preserving biodiversity and reducing carbon emissions.

Food security was top of the agenda throughout the event, with the conference highlighting the importance of accelerating innovation in the areas of controlled environment agriculture, plant-based, microbial and cell-based proteins, supply chain resilience and affordable nutrition.

A particular highlight was the track on vertical farming, which included a mixture of presentations and panel discussion.  The focus was on areas such as key success factors for scaling vertical farming operations with importance given to quality produce and ensuring producers are meeting local market needs, economic competitiveness, and the impact on the environment.

Other themes discussed at the summit included empowering smallholder farmers, supply chain transparency, feeding Asia’s cities, collaboration and partnerships and building a stronger agri-food innovation ecosystem across Asia.

 

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