Start-ups to take on waste in Food Loss Challenge Asia

Seeking food loss solutions from farm to market

Each year, 1.3 billion tons of food are lost worldwide. Rabobank is looking for entrepreneurs to help tackle the problem. This fall, in Singapore, the Food Loss Challenge will see start-ups pitch ideas to food & agri industry leaders and investors.

The Challenge takes on the global problem of food loss, keeping an eye on the target of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve food loss by 2030. With the world’s population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, curbing waste and loss will play a crucial role in meeting increased demand for food.

Eighty percent of the world’s 450 million smallholder farmers live in Asia, making the stakes and opportunities in the region particularly high, with potential reverberations around the globe. Against this backdrop, Rabobank Asia is launching the Food Loss Challenge Asia, an initiative to facilitate constructive dialogue between start-ups, food and agriculture corporates and smallholder farmers.

“At the farmer’s level, we see huge opportunity for improvement”

- Albert Boogaard, Rabobank Foundation

Solutions across the supply chain

The Food Loss Challenge Asia takes a wide view on the predicament of food loss, tracing a line from farm to consumer. “Most food loss happens on the journey between the farm and the supermarket shelf,” explains Mark van Binsbergen, CEO Rabobank Singapore and Innovation Lead for Rabobank in Asia. “Hence we are looking for innovative agtech solutions mainly focusing on the pre-consumption phase. Solutions could be in the area of improving agricultural production and farm management, quality control, market access, logistics, packaging & preservation and processing.”

Rabobank Foundation Head of Innovations Albert Boogaard adds, “Especially at the farmer’s level, we see huge opportunity for improvement. While productivity is increasing, the supporting post-harvest infrastructure has not kept the pace and a substantial part of produce is lost even before the harvest takes place. Since the vast majority of farmers in Asia are smallholders we are excited to be involved in this challenge as the impact for our target group can be huge.”

“Start-ups can access mentorship and grow their businesses”

- Diane Boogaard, Rabobank

A competition of ideas

The Challenge kicks off with an open call for pitches from start-ups addressing food loss, particularly those with innovations applicable in the Asian context. Twenty shortlisted companies will be invited to pitch clinics leading up to Pitch Day, held in Singapore on October 26. The Challenge concludes on November 15 with finalists presenting to Rabobank Asia’s F&A Advisory Board.

“One of our priorities is to leverage on our food & agri knowledge and expertise, and advise our clients to adopt more sustainable food production,” says Rabobank Asia CEO Diane Boogaard. “This will enable a more efficient use of raw materials and will improve the stability of food supply and efficiency of the food value chain.”

She continues: “It is important to help spur innovative and technology solutions that will help address the world’s food challenges. The Challenge provides an exciting platform for start-ups to access mentorship and connections to grow their businesses.”

Do you have a food loss solution?

The application period is now open. Start-ups that are both product-ready and business-ready are encouraged to apply before Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 23:59 Singapore time.

For more information about the Challenge, including applications, prizes, industry partners and judges, visit the Food Loss Challenge Asia website.