A report produced by consultancy PwC, Rabobank, and Singapore state investor Temasek finds that Asia’s food and agriculture industry needs investment of $800 billion over the next 10 years to meet the region’s growing food demand. Most of these investments—around $550 billion—will enable key requirements around sustainability, safety, health, and convenience. The remaining $250 billion will drive increased quantities of food to feed Asia’s growing population, according to The Asia Food Challenge Report: Harvesting the Future.

Together, the investments will unlock market growth of around 7% per year, with the region more than doubling its total spend on food to over $8 trillion by 2030. The report’s authors see this as a huge opportunity for corporations and investors to invest in Asia’s agri-food industry by placing a stronger focus on promising high-impact innovations.

“Asia needs innovation and technology to transform its agri-food system into one that is ecologically and economically sustainable,” said Ping Chew, head of RaboResearch, Food & Agribusiness, Asia, Rabobank. “Only through working together with shared responsibility and acting now can Asia feed itself while preserving the planet for future generations. Innovating for sustainability can also bring about value creation, and there are huge opportunities shifting into a more sustainable model that can tackle waste and supply chain inefficiency, produce higher yields, create platforms to connect, and introduce new products and processes.”

The report identifies technology as a critical enabler in meeting these shifting demands, which will require significant investments across the industry. Currently, Asia’s agriculture–food sector is lagging behind other regions, particularly North America and Western Europe, due in part to the sheer diversity of countries, their varying levels of economic development, and regulatory systems. To overcome these challenges, the report finds that greater collaboration and shared responsibility between the public and private sectors in the region must be established. This involves stronger backing from governments in terms of policies and legislations that support new technologies and innovations, as well as the formation of corporate venture capital teams and incubators.

Several Asian cities, such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, and Tokyo, have the potential to become agriculture–food innovation hubs. Key criteria for success, including positive regulatory environments for startups and investment, technical expertise, talent, and a strong pool of investors, can be found in these cities.

Report (pdf)

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