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Rabobank launches Food Loss Challenge Asia for start-ups

Rabobank aims to address the world’s food challenges of increased demand for food, changing consumer preferences and the need for sustainable food production. (Image source: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr)

Rabobank, the Netherlands-based global bank in food, agriculture and sustainability, has launched the Food Loss Challenge Asia, a move that will see disruptive start-ups present their agri-tech solutions to reduce food loss to a platform of leading food and agri industry leaders, investors and other start-ups

The challenge aims to address the global problem of food loss. Every year, about 1.3bn tonnes of food is lost worldwide whilst the world population is expected to increase by two billion people to more than nine billion people. To meet the increased demand for food, global food production will have to increase by at least 60 per cent, while at the same time arable land and natural resources are nearing their limits.

Against this backdrop, Rabobank Asia is launching the Food Loss Challenge Asia, an initiative to facilitate constructive dialogue between solutions providers, F&A corporates and smallholder farmers.

“As the leading global bank in food and agri and sustainability, Rabobank recognises its responsibility to help address the world’s food challenges of increased demand for food, changing consumer preferences and the need for sustainable food production,” said Diane Boogaard, CEO of Rabobank Asia.

“This will enable a more efficient use of raw materials and will improve the stability of food supply and efficiency of the food value chain,” Boogaard added.

“Most food loss happens on the journey between the farm and the supermarket shelf,” explained Mark van Binsbergen, CEO at Rabobank Singapore and innovation lead for Rabobank in Asia. “Hence we are looking for innovative ag-tech solutions mainly focusing on the pre-consumption phase. Solutions could be in the area of improving agricultural production and farm management, quality control, market access, logistics, packaging and preservation and processing,” noted Binsbergen.

Rabobank foundation head of innovations Albert Boogaard added, “Especially at the farmer’s level, we see a huge opportunity for improvement. While productivity is increasing, the supporting post-harvest infrastructure has not kept the pace and a substantial part of the produce is lost even before the harvest takes place. Since the vast majority of farmers in Asia are smallholders we are excited to be involved in this challenge as the impact for our target group can be huge.”

Start-ups that are both product-ready and business-ready are encouraged to apply before 19 September 2018. The Top-20 shortlisted will be invited to attend the Pitch Day in Singapore on 26 October 2018. The Top-five finalists will be invited to the finale in Singapore at Rabobank Asia’s Food and Agribusiness Advisory Board meeting, which is Rabobank Asia’s premier event bringing together C-suite level decisions makers of leading food and agribusiness companies.