Day 3: Thursday November 2
- Where do CEA and vertical farming fit in the food security puzzle? With current crops limited to leafy greens and berries, to what level does CEA offer security?
- How can we grow the right kinds of food? What kinds of technology will be needed to bring CEA into the next generation of production?
- With rising food prices, what does CEA offer the APAC region? Where quality and food safety are the unique selling point, to what level is the consumer willing to pay for that in Asia?
- As the CEA and vertical farming market matures, what do we recognise as being the fundamentals for success, and how can we learn from mistakes that have been made? Do we know the right recipe for profitability – and are there factors that are unique to Asia?
- How are companies who survived the recent downturn developing more sustainable business models? What elements will lead to more competitive unit economics?
- Based on the current cost of entry into this market, how do we make room for the smallholders of Asia? As SEA faces increasing weather challenges from climate change, do indoor growing environments provide a realistic solution for farmers in this region?
- Where a country benefits from the cheap imports of fresh food from neighbouring countries, how can indoor farms compete? How do we prevent local growers from going under or relocating?
David Chen, CEO, EQUILIBRIUM, USA
Jay Desan, Co-Founder, BOOMGROW, Malaysia
- With geopolitical unrest, many vertical farms were suddenly faced with energy costs which led to bankruptcy. How have growers pivoted to more sustainable energy from renewable sources?
- How are growers forging partnerships with utilities and energy producers to source cheaper energy through off-peak tariffs?
- How can growers reduce the cost of environmental controls by harnessing the power of geothermal energy and sunlight? What about opportunities in harnessing residual heat from existing industries for cooling – what success have we seen here?
- How is improved power distribution allowing vertical farms to cut their energy usage and build profitability?
Andreas Wilhelmsson, Co-Founder and CEO, LJUSGARDA, Sweden
- How could the right partnerships between growers and engineers achieve leaner production, greater yield, and better quality? How does this union drive unit economics and profitability?
- What capabilities and considerations do growers want to see in new equipment developed for CEA? How can solutions be optimised for the location, climate control, and technical requirements for growing? How is tech optimised for high humidity environments?
- How are solution providers risk sharing and taking responsibility for the end results?
- What can we learn from farms in Korea and Japan? What kind of technology breakthroughs have they seen to grow at scale? How have they brought the price down to sell in retail?
- Larger farms increase risk – how should we address risk, such as disease, when considering scale-up? What is the role of sensors, automation and data when optimising for growth and yield? How far have these technologies come?
Vincent Wei, Co-Founder, ARCHISEN, Singapore
- How can a crop’s biology be manipulated for higher profits through breeding? What opportunities are we seeing to utilise seeds developed and optimised for their specific environment? How could this transform the unit economics of CEA & vertical farming?
- Using new tools, such as gene editing and AI modelling, how will the development of new, specialist seeds for greenhouses and vertical farms accelerate over the next decade? How will this impact Asia?
- How will consumers react to gene-edited crops in a sector that prided itself on being better-than-organic? How can growers build their brand through crop varieties with unique taste profiles and high nutritional value? Will this be enough to persuade consumers?
One of the most interactive sessions of the programme, each roundtable discussion group is hosted by an industry expert on a specific theme offering you a valuable opportunity to network, brainstorm solutions and discuss ideas with your peers on shared areas of interest.
- Following a difficult year for many vertical farms and high-tech greenhouses, what have investors learnt and how will they be changing their approach over the next year?
- Now that the risks are higher, what are investors looking for from CEA growers in order to commit their funds to a business?
- As the CEA and vertical farming market matures, where will funding come from to enable its continued expansion?
Adam Bergman, Global Head of AgTech Investment Banking, CITI, USA
Mark Ee, Head of Equity Finance Asia/Australia, SIEMENS FINANCIAL SERVICES, Singapore
Meet our pick of the most exciting CEA and vertical farming innovators in Asia-Pacific. Each presenting company will pitch to a panel of investors, who are keen to ask questions and dig deeper into their value proposition.
- CEA and vertical farms will have different agendas in different regions – what is the agenda for setting up in Asia? What makes this region unique and ripe for business development?
- What opportunities are there to future-proof indoor farms? What forms of diversification and ‘sector hopping innovation’ are we seeing?
- If we look beyond leafy greens, what else can we grow? Which crops present the best value for input, yield and profitability?
- Where we see opportunities in markets such as cosmetics and pharma, which crops show the greatest potential for indoor farms?
- Are cereal crops worth considering? What level of modification will these crops require? Will governments support this innovation?
Paul Gauthier, Professor of Protected Cropping, QUEENSLAND ALLIANCE FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOOD INNOVATION (QAAFI), Australia