Summit Opens: Reshaping Asia’s Agri-Food Production Ecosystem for a Healthier, Tastier and More Sustainable Future

  • Region faces threats to food security, from climate change and soil degradation to population growth, obesity and diabetes
  • 800 agribusinesses, food brands, investors and innovators to discuss focus for innovation and investment

The biggest names in global and regional agri-food production are gathered in Singapore this week with a shared goal to accelerate technology innovation and investment in Asia’s agri-food value chain.

The second Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, organised by UK-based Rethink Events in partnership with global investment company Temasek, opened at the Grand Hyatt on 20 November.

Addressing 800 delegates from 42 countries, Rethink Events’ Founder and Managing Director, Jennie Moss said: “For change to happen at scale, we need partnership and collaboration between government, big corporates, start-ups and investors, and that’s why we’re here today – to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and ideas from around the world, and to create an environment in which new connections can take root and flourish.”

Anuj Maheshwari, Managing Director of Agribusiness at Temasek, added: “Collective and urgent effort is needed across the agri-food value chain. Asia faces big challenges in meeting the demand for more food, better food and more sustainable food.  New innovations and technologies present exciting opportunities to address these needs, and we hope that this week will spark thought, action and collaboration to meet the Asia food challenge.”

The event is a key strategic milestone for Singapore. With a growing urban population and dependency on imported produce for 90% of its needs, the Singapore Government has zeroed in on the critical need – and opportunity – to be at the forefront of global innovation in sustainable food production models and technologies and become a global centre for agri-food innovation.

Over the next three days, the C-level delegate audience from 42 countries will share their knowledge and experience, and seal new partnerships in agri-food technology development and commercialisation. 130+ speakers will showcase the latest solutions that are disrupting the agri-food system as we know it.

Day One focuses on opportunities for technology to reinvent agriculture across Southeast Asia, China and India, from drones, sensors, robotics and machine-learning, to new approaches to soil health, pest and disease control that work with nature to solve challenges, and digital tools that support farmers to grow better quality crops and achieve more sustainable livelihoods.

Day Two moves the farming focus indoors, to urban and indoor grown leafy greens, salad and vegetables, essential for providing growing cities with fresh, nutritious food. The day explores the latest in sustainable aquaculture, including urban fish farms and breakthroughs in feed, before insights into the market potential for cell-based meats and new developments in plant-based proteins.

Day Three tackles the impending health crisis across Asia, seeking better alternatives to sugar and sweeteners alongside fortification of foods and preventative nutrition to reduce diet-related diabetes and obesity, while supporting infant development and healthy ageing.

With its vibrant growing community of start-ups and entrepreneurs, alongside an established financial community and world-leading R&D facilities, Singapore is poised to lead the world in finding solutions to achieve food security, sustainability and health.

The Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Week runs from Wednesday November 20 to Friday November 22, at the Grand Hyatt in Singapore.