Advancing Sustainable Food Systems: Speaker Insights

For the 4th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, our agenda is more focused on sustainability, reducing carbon output and adopting green practices than ever before. With reports from the IPCC and UN promising dire consequences if action isn’t taken, the climate crisis is now at the forefront of decisions makers’ minds in every area of the agri-food supply chain.

Days before the summit, all eyes will be on Glasgow (UK) as governments gather for COP26, and we look forward to the opportunity to digest the results at our virtual meeting. Every stakeholder in the agri-food industry has the opportunity to shape a low-carbon future and there is a collective responsibility to enable everyone from large corporates to individual small holders to use the new technology that is available to reduce negative impact while protecting yields and livelihoods.

View the full agenda and scroll down to hear how our expert speakers and partners are approaching the challenge at every level of food production, from improving soil health and supporting small holders, to green investment.

Supporting Smallholders

Lino Miguel Dias, VP Smallholder Farming, BAYER
Lino Miguel Dias, BAYER

“Smallholder farmers play a key role in feeding a growing world’s population but face many challenges. From lack of access to agriculture inputs, equipment, or know-how, to lack of capital, insurance, or market options. Addressing those challenges can be done effectively through partnership ecosystems. We are working together with many private and public partners in developing solutions for farmers and creating resilient food production ecosystems, such as Better Life Farming. These digitally supported last-mile ecosystems also engage smallholders with downstream customers and provide solutions beyond farming, improving livelihoods of entire communities.”
Lino Miguel Dias, VP Smallholder Farming, BAYER

Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro, Senior VP, Ag Solutions Asia Pacific, BASF
Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro, BASF


“The agricultural industry has a critical role to play in combating climate change. Supporting farmers to adopt more climate smart farming practices will both reduce emissions and increase farm resilience. BASF is fully committed to developing innovations that decrease the environmental impact of farming, improve farm resilience, and sequester carbon in the soil. Moreover, we believe that partnerships are the cornerstone to accelerate the shift to more sustainable agriculture practices. We’re excited to be a part of this event – not only to share what we’ve learned in the lab and the field – but more importantly learn from and connect with others.”
Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro, Senior VP, Ag Solutions Asia Pacific, BASF

Alex Bell, AGORO


“Regenerative farming has a significant potential climate impact in the Asia-Pacific region. So we must make the transition to these farming practices achievable and worthwhile, enabling farmers to generate income from the sustainability of their crops as well as their yield and quality. In this way, we can make a tangible social impact on hundreds of millions of farmers across Asia, particularly smallholder farmers. To succeed, we’ll need a wide range of global and local partners – together, we’ll achieve much more than we could on our own.”


“Agriculture contributes almost 30% of global greenhouse emissions. It’s no different from other sectors—there is an urgent need to make it more sustainable. To hold global warming to below 2 degrees we need to reduce agricultural emission by two-thirds by 2050.

Rana Karadsheh, Director, IFC
Rana Karadsheh, IFC

At the same time, food production needs to increase by 70% to meet the demands of a global population that is estimated to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. Climate-smart agriculture will help to ensure food security, boost productivity, protect natural resources, and improve livelihoods through greater profitability and viability. Direct financing to large scale producers and to small holders through supply chains, can support sustainable agricultural innovations and increase yields. Funding ways to improve resource-usage, better farming practices, improve crop protein production, and reduce wastage will significantly reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.”
Rana Karadsheh, Director, IFC

Soil Health

Ying Li, Conservation & Agriculture Director China, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

“One of the most important solutions our human society could do to address climate change lies beneath our feet, the soil. There’s twice as much carbon in soil than there is in vegetation and air. The benefit of carbon sequestration in the soil is not just limited to climate change mitigation. Healthy soil storing rich amounts of carbon is a living ecosystem that not only produces 95% of our food, also secures our water, holding our biodiversity. The farmers protecting the soil health should be rewarded.”
Ying Li, Conservation & Agriculture Director China, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY


Cherrie Atilano, AGREA

“Appreciating that food is our umbilical cord to Mother Earth! The moment we neglect this fact, it will be easier for us to destroy Her. So, let’s treasure this great connection.

One way of doing this is to ensure healthy soils where we grow food, as this will lead to sustainable and organic harvests that will keep us healthy, and the environment too. Moreover, starting to grow ones own food is the best choice to do especially for post pandemic resiliency and sustainability.”


“Regenerative agriculture via improving soil health is playing a significant role in advancing sustainable food production. Good soil can be a powerhouse in drawing excess carbon from the atmosphere, absorbing excess rainwater and fostering biodiversity. There is also growing evidence that the quality of soil impacts the quality of food, making regenerative agriculture not just an environmental and social imperative but a health one as well. To increase the adoption rate of this practice and drive systemic change, we believe that new forms of collaboration with the public sector are essential as governments play a major role in defining and shaping agricultural system worldwide especially in Asia-Pacific. This is why Danone Ecosystem Fund, Harmless Harvest and GIZ have joined forces to start the ReCAP project which we will happily share more about at the conference.”
Listyanu Agung, Danone Ecosystem Fund Planet Coordinator, DANONE

Green Investment

Asian Development BankWe spoke to Martin Lemoine, Agribusiness Investment Unit Head at ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, our Strategic Partner for the APAC Agri-Food Innovation Summit. 

“Agriculture is at the centre of the global climate crisis. It is simultaneously the most affected sector and itself a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. As such, agribusiness plays a critical role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

According to the Food and Land Use Coalition, $350 billion in annual investments are required to transform agriculture to be greener and more resilient.

Martin Lemoine, Agribusiness Investment Unit Head, ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
Martin Lemoine, ADB

ADB is committed to being the leader in climate finance in the region.  Already a major fund provider to the renewable energy sector, ADB will scale up its investments in climate adaptation to $9 billion over 2019–2024, a large portion of this for resilient agriculture. ADB is fully aligning its operations with the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2025, and by 2030, at least 75% of ADB’s operations will directly contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation.

So far, a third of ADB’s private sector agribusiness investments have incorporated climate features. Climate mitigation projects have included methane capture for livestock and energy efficiency in food distribution. Climate adaptation projects include controlled-environment agriculture, drip irrigation, and training in climate-smart agriculture practices for over 150,000 smallholder farmers.

We are always exploring new and exciting areas and projects.

In the area of mitigation, we are looking at sustainable forestry investments. We are also preparing to invest in plant-based proteins, which will aim to replace animal proteins that have a higher carbon footprint. Greener animal feed can also be another mitigation tool that sources more raw material locally and explores new ingredients like seaweeds and insects.

In the area of adaptation, we are developing a project to replant aged cocoa trees with climate-resilient hybrid varieties. We’re working at better access to post-harvest storage that can also make many farmers more climate-resilient.

Where mitigation and adaption intersect, there is soil carbon farming, where farmers earn revenue from carbon credits when they make climate positive changes to their practices, such as adding organic fertilizers or eliminating tilling or burning.

We in ADB see carbon neutrality and climate resilience as ambitious but achievable targets for agriculture in Asia and the Pacific!”

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will host an in-person summit workshop in Singapore (livestreamed to our virtual summit audience) on Wednesday November 17 2021, gathering agribusiness industry leaders and investors to discuss: “Green Financing and Natural Capital Investment Models”.