A new report from PwC, Rabobank, and Temasek released 20 November 2019 called the Asia Food Challenge Report: Harvesting the Future, estimated that Asia’s agri-food market would grow 7 percent a year, with Asia needing to double its spending on food to over US$8 trillion by 2030. While the Asia agri-food sector also lags North America and Western Europe, the increased investment is needed to feed Asia’s growing population with opportunities to supply more people with healthy food that is sustainably and ethically sourced.

The Report, launched in conjunction with this year's Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Week in Singapore, estimates that cumulative investment of US$800 billion above existing levels over the next 10 years will be needed to grow Asia's food and agriculture industry to a sustainable size, in order for Asia to feed itself. The majority of these investments – around US$550 billion – will enable key requirements around sustainability, safety, health, and convenience. The remaining US$250 billion will drive increased quantities of food to feed Asia's growing population.

Richard Skinner, Asia Pacific deals strategy & operations leader, PwC Singapore said: "Asia faces a crossroads. On the one hand, the current lack of investment, and the slow development and use of technology across the food and agriculture supply chain has held us back and left us dependent on others. On the other, we can reverse that by being at the forefront of technological innovation, disruption and use, transforming the industry and bringing benefits to the consumer, returns to corporates and investors and value-adding jobs across Asia."

As countries around the world grapple with food shortage and the effects of climate change, the report addresses the challenges and opportunities that Asia's agri-food industry face. The region is urbanizing rapidly and by 2030, it will be home to approximately 250 million more people who have a growing appetite for healthy food that is sustainably and ethically sourced.

Ping Chew, head of RaboResearch, Food & Agribusiness, Asia, Rabobank, said: "Asia needs innovation and technology to transform its agri-food system into one that is ecologically and economically sustainable. 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. From the development of alternative meat-based proteins to high-tech plant factories that deliver a 400-fold increase over traditional methods, to modern aquaculture that will significantly reduce fish mortality and pollution levels to improve output especially for small scale farmers, there is great potential to explore technologically-driven innovations.

To overcome challenges, the report says greater collaboration and shared responsibility between the public and private sectors in the region must be established, while the formation of corporate venture capital teams, incubators, and agri-food innovation centers are others.

Singapore, for example, has already set in motion a range of government policies and initiatives to tackle food insecurity and develop itself into an agri-food innovation hub. Its Singapore Food Agency has also set a goal to produce 30 percent of the country's nutritional needs by 2030 by adopting new solutions and technologies to grow more with less.

Anuj Maheshwari, managing director, agribusiness, at Temasek, said: "A fundamental change is required across the entire food supply chain in Asia to enable and sustain the region's food security. We see immense opportunities for start-ups, businesses and governments to work together in creating innovative solutions that can transform our global food systems. Sustainability is a key focus for us at Temasek, and we remain committed to deploying our capital purposefully across the whole agri-food value chain, as we invest for a better, smarter and more sustainable world."
Please visit AsiaFoodChallenge.com for the full report and for more information.