Upon evaluation, the following eight companies have been selected to pitch their solutions to leading VCs and agrifood businesses at Pitch Day.
ABOUT GROW ASIA DIRECTORY SHOWCASE
Smallholder farmers form the backbone of food production in the ASEAN region, contributing more than 70% of the food supply.
Grow Asia's objective is to help smallholder farmers in ASEAN achieve greater prosperity and environmental sustainability. One way to do this is by driving the adoption of digital tools and empowering farmers and their partners with actionable insights about their own farms.
Data solutions can provide precise and timely information about everything from weather patterns and soil health to crop quality and market prices.
However, data collection is generally poor at the smallholder level, generally due to their lack of familiarity with digital tools.
There is still immense potential for farmers to benefit from relevant and accurate data that can be translated into actionable insights.
The Grow Asia Directory Showcase invited startups who can transform data collection and insight delivery for smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia, so that the people responsible for feeding us can reap that untapped potential.
Better data, better outcomes for smallholder farmers
Data can be used in many ways to assist smallholder farmers, whether it is what, when or how they plant; manage their farm’s inputs; increase yields; or understanding of market prices and the quality of their crop. Yet despite these potential benefits, the level and quality of smallholder farmer data collection is still generally poor. So farmers are still missing out on returns they should be enjoying. Technology solutions exist, but availability does not mean adoption due to accessibility barriers, including human behaviors and capabilities.
As always, we need to understand if we are solving the right problem for the right person. Equally, what is the right data, and where might it be held? How might data be obtained or inferred? Is the farmer best placed to collect data; and if so, is she incentivized to collect it? How might we reframe the challenge to stimulate improved solutions?
Three well-known corporations in the agrifood sector that work closely with smallholder farmers would like to see better availability and collection of data. They share the objective of improving smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. Each has a different perspective and challenges for you to consider, take up, and solve.
Collecting farm data is a prerequisite for Bayer to create any kind of Digital Farming solution, such as advising on farming practice, linking to service providers or markets. But true value emerges when multiple sources of data are linked. Each new dataset builds on the previous, adding depth and dimension. But like with any flywheel effect, you need to start with initial, accurate profile data. From that initial data, services can be built which in turn generate additional datasets, providing the momentum and ability to develop more insights and services.
Direct methods of data collection from growers are prone to errors and inconsistency. However, for example with social media, creators have found engaging ways to motivate or incentivize accurate collection of user data. In addition to mobile devices farmers may be using, data collection could happen through IoT sensors, ag machinery, drones or satellites.
How might we encourage farmers to make their first meaningful digital connection with an inputs company like Bayer and incentivize them to provide additional data points as their engagement with Bayer increases? How can the ecosystem be incentivized to capture smallholder data in a viable and scalable way?
Cargill is working to nourish the world. We're bringing together people, ideas, and resources to deliver products, technology and ways of operating that build successful businesses and communities.
In agriculture, advances in technology have changed the data that can be collected and how quickly it can be gathered. Remote sensing providers are now monitoring farm assets and acquiring important visual and multispectral data for insights into farm operations, like for example, measure water levels, crop types, acreage under cultivation, and crop health among many other things, sometimes in real time. Similarly, drones, hovering above fields, provide even more detail on what’s happening in individual farms. Smart farm robotic equipment and internet of things for farming operations with integrated software capabilities can help perform complex farming tasks more effectively, efficiently or autonomously than through traditional farming methods, along with generating data points that can help smallholder farmers. But the key challenge we see in collecting data is the cost of these advanced technologies.
How might we develop multiuser solutions that capture value enabling smallholder farmers to access data affordably through technologies such as advanced imagery and smart farming systems in order to improve their sustainability, productivity and livelihoods?
The farmers who supply Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) are assisted by the company’s supply chain unit, as well as Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF), and its partners, which include NGOs and microfinance institutions (MFIs). The farmers are also part of a JGF program to improve their farm management and entrepreneurial skills. However, many of these farmers lack connectivity, smartphones, and the skills to collect and manage data.
As part of the program, farmers are required to manually compile and maintain a journal that records their financial transactions and cash flow. Compliance places a time burden on the farmers and the program’s Agro-enterprise Facilitators (extension workers). Can the responsibility for the data recording be reframed and repositioned for greater overall benefit?
Given that JGF would like to see smallholder farmers improve their profitability, how might we develop digital solutions to build more comprehensive and accurate profiles of these farmers and their operations? Such a solution could also be used by partner MFIs to improve the efficiency of the loan approval and/or the disbursement process.
If the solution could be used by input providers or other value chain actors in a way that benefits smallholders, it would be a plus.
Join the Grow Asia Digital Directory, a curated list of digital solutions targeting smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia
Get access to corporates and NGOs looking to pilot with digital solutions
An opportunity to pitch to a high level audience of investors, corporates, NGOs, and other ecosystem enablers
Raise your profile by being involved in Grow Asia events and mentions on articles and reports
You may skip to the segments at these timings:
ADB Ventures — 04:05
Bayer — 19:44
Cargill — 29:43
Jollibee Group Foundation — 42:38
Panel Discussion — 49:00
Indonesia Partner Event with MDI Ventures