Rabobank Launches SustainableAg Asia Challenge for Agtech companies

Rabobank, a global leader in food and agri banking, is excited to announce the launch of its “SustainableAg Asia Challenge”. Agtech companies with innovative solutions, that promote integrity in the agri-food supply chain in Asia, are invited to apply. The selected companies will benefit from networking opportunities with leading agri-businesses and eco-system partners to help them scale their businesses.

As agri-food supply chains are becoming increasingly interconnected - from input companies to farmers, traders, food companies and retailers – data and innovation are key to meet the increased demand for food. Better data collection, analysis and sharing will improve integrity in the agri-food supply chain. Moreover, data-driven technology will enable farmers and food & agri companies to make more informed decisions, triggering new smart farming and processing techniques and new ways of food distribution. With the vast majority of smallholder farmers living in Asia, agtech solutions will enable farmers to improve their crop production and access to markets, and in turn improve their incomes.

Against this backdrop, Rabobank, a global leader in food and agri banking, is organizing the “SustainableAg Asia Challenge”. Agtech companies with a market-ready data-driven tech solution, that promote integrity in the agri-food supply chain in Asia, are invited to apply before Sunday 1 September 2019, 23:59 pm Singapore time. Solutions could be in the areas of farming practices, inclusivity of smallholder farmers, traceability, food safety, data integrity & sharing and/or improving access to markets.

The Top-15 companies will be invited to attend the Pitch Day in Singapore on 10th of October 2019 and stand a chance to win a cash prize from a pool of US$20,000 and an exclusive invitation to pitch/present at Rabobank Asia’s annual Food & Agribusiness Advisory Board Meeting held in Shanghai on 31 October 2019. Travel grants will be provided to the Top-15 shortlisted companies to travel to Singapore and the Top-5 to travel to Shanghai. Successful applicants will be evaluated based on their technology innovation, market readiness, scalability and extent of addressing integrity in the agri-food value chain in Asia.

Last year, Rabobank launched its first Asia Innovation Challenge, the “Food Loss Challenge Asia” with India-based company Ecozen Solutions and its solar-powered cold rooms emerging as the Winner.

“Winning Rabobank’s 2018 innovation challenge has given us increased visibility and recognition globally”, shares Prateek Singhal, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Ecozen. “We were introduced to opportunities as far as in Kenya and Uganda, which we are now studying now. We look forward to Rabobank’s support to collaborate with supply chain companies and potential partners across the world.”

“We are excited to launch our second Innovation Challenge for agtech companies in Asia,” says Diane Boogaard, Chief Executive Officer Asia of Rabobank. “Asia’s population is expected to increase from 4.6 billion to 5.3 billion in 2050. With limited arable land and natural resources available, food production needs to increase. Data and innovation are key to feeding the growing population sustainably.”

“As a global leader in food and agri banking, Rabobank is committed to finding innovative solutions for a more efficient agri-food supply chain. The SustainableAg Asia Challenge is an excellent platform to bring together emerging tech solutions and connect them with our clients, large agri-business players, to foster collaboration and catalyse change,” she continues.

Rabo Foundation Head of Innovations Albert Boogaard adds:” With the vast majority of the farmers in Asia being smallholders, we are excited to be involved in the Challenge again. Smallholder farmers lack mostly access to finance and knowledge. Data-driven technology enables smallholder farmers to get more insight how to increase their productivity and in turn increase their incomes.”

The Challenge is supported by Rabo Foundation, and in partnership with food and agriculture companies Archer Daniels MidlandBayer and Olam International, and eco-system partners ADB Ventures, Bits & Bites, DSM and Temasek, who will act as Judges.

Find out more about the SustainableAg Asia Challenge by Rabobank at www.sustainableag.asia 

About Rabobank

With our roots in the Netherlands and Food & Agri, Rabobank is an international financial services provider with activities in 39 countries in the field of retail banking, wholesale banking, private banking, leasing and real estate. Measured by Tier 1 capital, Rabobank Group is one of the world's largest financial institutions with high credit ratings by all rating agencies. As an industry leader in environmental, social and governance (ESG), Rabobank is ranked as an ESG Leader by Sustainalytics, placing Rabobank in the top-5% of its industry peers.

Rabobank’s mission of ‘Growing a better world together’ stems from our cooperative heritage and agricultural roots. With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities Rabobank aims to encourage and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food production practice globally. We do this by concentrating our efforts on four most pressing food issues together with our clients, partners and colleagues worldwide: increasing the availability of food, improving access to food, promoting a balanced nutrition and increasing stability of food supply chains. Last year, Rabobank launched its first Asia Innovation Challenge, the “Food Loss Challenge Asia” with India-based company Ecozen Solutions and its solar-powered cold rooms emerging as the Winner.

Read more about Rabobank at www.rabobank.com.

About Rabo Foundation

Rabo Foundation is Rabobank’s social fund. The Foundation invests in the self-sufficiency of farmer organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, by putting up finance and by sharing the cooperative, banking and agricultural expertise that the Rabobank Group has built up over many years. This helps organizations to achieve their goals of offering small-scale farmers access to financing, savings opportunities, knowledge and new markets.

In addition, new technological developments can be deployed to help serve small farmers even more effectively. Digitization is therefore a key focus for Rabo Foundation and consists of a combination of four data streams: field information from the farmer, chain information, geodata and the use of fintech such as a mobile savings account and credit scoring. This fits seamlessly into Rabobank’s mission of growing a better world together.

Read more about our Rabo Foundation at www.rabobankfoundation.com.

Published: 1 August 2019, 12:00 CET

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