February 21, 2024

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Thailand: bringing innovation and tech to agriculture

Four industry experts recently gathered in Thailand for a conference held during the True Digital Park Grand Opening 2019 to discuss “Food for Thought: Innovation in Food and Agriculture”.

Food has the potential to be a huge technology playing field that can be expanded regionally and localize successfully.

One expert noted that agriculture can be made sustainable with digital nutrition, which is a new way of optimizing farmers’ performance through digitalization by using the same amount of materials to achieve higher productivity.

However, while agriculture’s increased efficiency brings about valuable impact, the upstream of the food supply chain where the food source stems from requires a much larger deal of innovation and this is where the business opportunity lies in.

There is an increasing number of start-ups focusing on the upstream of the food supply chain and more innovation in farming, agriculture, while alternative proteins began sprouting up in the past two years, the Director of an early-stage venture fund noted.

Serving fresh funds

Start-ups in the upstream, with the majority of them in the deep tech sector, typically take a longer time to achieve commercialization. Therefore, investors will need to widen their portfolios with a combination of upstream and downstream start-ups.

While it seems that downstream start-ups such as food delivery companies generate higher and faster ROI encouraged investors to also look into upstream start-ups which will be emerging as the next big thing, albeit with a longer rate of return.

Fund-raising for food and agritech start-ups is getting easier these days, as compared to five or six years ago. There is also a climb in corporate venture capital (CVC) in the food and agritech field.

A growing number of commodity traders are looking into this area as well, to provide micro-financing to the farmers. Opportunities abound in the micro-financing area with 235 million unbanked adults in the agriculture industry as reported by the World Bank Group.

Thailand is paving way for its homegrown unicorns as support programs are rolling out for start-ups to accelerate their progress.

Food and agriculture tech ecosystem 

The Southeast Asia community builders were called on to look to the California market for knowledge and insights on bringing both upstream and downstream players together, in an effort to build a strong FoodTech ecosystem.

The Chinese agriculture players’ grassroot effort was lauded, including relevant associations and chambers, sharing agriculture knowledge and business tips over online chat groups, as an example to bring value to the food and agriculture tech ecosystem.

The role of government and corporates 

Meat is a large part of almost every nation’s economy. A majority of cultured meat producers are from start-up backgrounds, which intrinsically lack credibility and trust from the consumers due to weak track records.

Education and awareness can be built up collaboratively by government bodies and corporates; consumers are more likely to trust such organizations with strong credibility.

There are no standards and regulations for IoT technology in food and agriculture tech yet. The lack of regulations spells uncertainty and risks for IoT developers as there are no guiding rules for the developers.

While the ultimate purpose of regulation is to encourage stakeholders to take into account externalities such as security and privacy, an expert suggested that regulations are not needed for IoT technology in the food and agriculture sector.

Corporates are becoming more active in the food and agriculture tech ecosystem with many setting up their own venture arms to invest in start-ups. Corporates are technology adopters and innovators in applying such technologies and must be enabled to reach their full potential.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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