Rabobank’s first Asia-Wide Initiative for Technology Start-Ups to Address
Growing Issue of Food Loss in Agri-Industries
Singapore, 15 November 2018—India’s Ecozen Solutions has won the inaugural Rabobank Food Loss Challenge Asia, launched to highlight agri-tech solutions to the growing global problem of food loss and wastage from farm to market.
Rabobank, a leading global bank in food & agriculture and sustainability, invited submissions from regional agri-tech start-ups as an initiative to facilitate constructive dialogue across the agri-industry spectrum between solutions providers, food & agriculture corporates and smallholder farmers
Ecozen Solutions, which is enabling the farm-to-fork movement of perishables by providing solar based cold rooms at the farm level, was chosen from five finalists at the event Finale held today in Singapore. Ecozen won both the Jury’s Prize of USD15,000 and the Audience’s Prize of USD5,000. The event Finale was held at Rabobank Asia’s Food & Agriculture Advisory Board meeting, the bank’s premier event bringing together C-Suite level decision makers of leading food & agriculture companies.
The Rabobank Food Loss Challenge Asia took place against the backdrop of regional and global food loss – every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost worldwide, while the world’s population is forecast to exceed nine billion by 2050. To meet increased demand for food, global production will have to rise by at least 60 per cent, despite arable land and natural resources nearing their limits.
Entries from across Asia and further afield were judged by Rabobank Foundation and Partners of Rabobank – Singapore’s Temasek global investment company; Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest agriculture processors and food ingredients providers; Charoen Pokphand Group, a globally-integrated agri-industrial and food business; Olam International, a leading agri-business supplying food, ingredients and raw materials to customers worldwide, and UPL, a provider of integrated technology-based solutions for crop protection, seeds and post-harvest solutions.
“We chose Asia for the Rabobank Food Loss Challenge because of the size of the problem of food losses in the region, but also because of the huge potential to solve it due to the presence of so many start-ups with very bright people,” said Rabobank Asia CEO Diane Boogaard.
Albert Boogaard, Rabobank Foundation’s Head of Innovation, said: “At Rabobank Foundation our mission is to improve the income and lives of smallholder farmers using our banking knowledge, network and financial products. In Asia, more than 80 per cent of farmers are smallholder farmers and we believe many of these start-ups, while reducing food losses, also help improve the lives of smallholders.
“One of the main objectives of the Rabobank Food Loss Challenge was to connect start-ups to investors, users and other stakeholders to stimulate cooperation between them – already our leading entries and top five finalists have been exposed to senior representatives of world-leading food & agricultural businesses and investors.”
Prateek Singhal, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Ecozen, said: “A win at the Food Loss Challenge Asia is a validation of our efforts and product offering. Food Loss is a key issue in all developing countries and we at Ecozen are striving to build solutions to prevent this. This Challenge will help us to reach out and collaborate with like-minded businesses and organizations working towards tackling food loss. Further, it can also provide access to capital which would fast-track our product development and business expansion plans.”
“Rabobank has been very supportive in preparing for this challenge, mentoring and guiding at every stage. Our business model of leasing of cold rooms to farmers and connecting them via the platform to organised buyers who are looking to source perishables from them was well appreciated by Rabobank and the audience. We are looking forward to collaborating with them in future to scale this model.”
Ecozen has implemented its solutions in ASEAN region including Indonesia and Vietnam with the help of Covestro and is looking to expand further into other developing countries including African and Southeast Asian markets.
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With our roots in the Netherlands and Food & Agri, Rabobank is an international financial services provider with activities in 38 countries in the field of retail banking, wholesale banking, private banking, leasing and real estate. Measured by Tier 1 capital, Rabobank Group is one of the world’s largest financial institutions with high credit ratings by all rating agencies. As an industry leader in environmental, social and governance (ESG), Rabobank is ranked as an ESG Leader by Sustainalytics, placing Rabobank in the top-5 per cent of its industry peers.
Our mission is “Growing a Better World Together”. With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities we aim to further motivate and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food production practice globally. We do this by concentrating our efforts on four most pressing food issues together with our clients, partners and colleagues worldwide: increasing the availability of food, improving access to food, promoting a balanced nutrition and increasing the stability of food supply chains.
Read more about our vision for global food security at www.rabobank.com.
About Rabobank Foundation
Rabobank Foundation is Rabobank’s social fund. The Foundation invests in the self-sufficiency of farmer organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, by putting up finance and by sharing the cooperative, banking and agricultural expertise that the Rabobank Group has built up over many years. This helps the organizations to achieve their goals of offering small-scale farmers access to financing, savings opportunities, knowledge and new markets.
Read more about Rabobank Foundation at www.rabobank.com/rabobankfoundation
Find out more about the Food Loss Challenge Asia at www.foodlosschallenge.asia
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