The boom in food engineering and agriculture technology, or AgriTech is rewriting the playbook for one of the world’s oldest, and most polluting industries.
Precision agriculture, for example, is helping farmers make better decisions with information about their soil, water, crop and climatic conditions. This is especially crucial in countries where smallholder farmers still struggle to get their yield up, to meet rising demand. On the ecological front, the growth of alternative proteins represents a sustainable alternative to business-as-usual animal agriculture. Many start-ups and entrepreneurs in this growing space are now working to solve agricultural challenges such as low agricultural productivity, poor efficiency in the supply chain and lack of access to credits and loans.
This has led to the sector witnessing an investment boom, despite the pandemic. What are some of the unrealised potential in the food and AgriTech sectors? Can it evolve to solve the impending food security crises?
Join us for this inaugural Lunch & Learn virtual session where we will host a relaxed chat with experts on understanding AgriTech's current state of play and map the outlook for this exciting industry.
Research and Consulting Manager, Eco-Business
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Hi everyone. Good morning, afternoon and evening wherever you are in the world.
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We're just going to give a few more minutes for just the participants roll in, and we will start at 12, noon, Singapore time sharply. I'm looking forward to presenting the data side and session.
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Hello again and I hope everyone is well.
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But, morning, afternoon, evening everyone, I hope, I hope you are well, I'm really excited to be welcoming you to eco businesses first Lunch and Learn session.
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My name is Julia raw hon. I am the research and consulting manager at equal business, and I'm very pleased to be moderating a new monthly series that we're kicking off today.
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Now the format of this Lunch and Learn series, which takes place at the start of each month is a relaxed, one hour chat with subject matter experts on exciting developments and innovations happening in the world of sustainability.
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Today's theme will be on food and agri agriculture technology which can be multiple so we're showing it to agriculture.
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And I'll be speaking to three experts on some of the most exciting innovations and solutions being developed to meet the urgent yet mightily complicated need of feeding the world.
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We will hear about how you industries, and in this space is revolutionising agriculture, one of the oldest industries in human civilization will hear about how farmers entrepreneurs venture capitalists governments and nonprofits are collaborating to solve
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the mounting challenges in agriculture and to feed the world that is meat worse by climate change, the pandemic and a whole host of other factors. And we'll hear about the rise of alternative proteins and whether consumers are becoming more open to trying
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out many options sold on the shelves of supermarkets. That's right.
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Now today. Today's topic is one of three themes in the livability challenge. That is probably organized by equal business in conjunction with the prosperity, and this is our fifth year holding this competition.
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It's a global initiative that looks for and accelerate the adoption of innovative solutions to urban challenges of the 21st century in cities in the tropics.
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It crowd sources the world for the best sustainability solutions and provides both the monetary and ecosystem support needed to take these ideas from laboratory to commercialization at the market scale.
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Now for food and agri tech, where our global food security and quality of food is under stress, some of the solutions the livability challenge hopes you see ranges from plant based foods that can increase production of our meeting a little carbon footprint
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to solutions that reduce food waste, and even new foods that provide healthier alternatives for consumers in our past editions for example a 2021 challenge.
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The winner was he change for their technology to convert the salt carbon dioxide and water into stable solid carbonates, which can be used to make construction materials, such as concrete estimate, in 2020, in 2020, turtle tree labs was, was the winner
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for its innovative lab grown built as an alternative to Colorado.
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I would urge that idea to be submitted for a chance to make a huge impact in the cities, your idea could be the next big thing to win a million dollars.
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And I see that gene thank you for putting in the link to the livability challenge next fight and.
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Thank you. Now before we begin the discussion. I really like to set the stage with some context, highlighting how agriculture is at the center of numerous global challenges.
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We're currently facing a challenge to meet a very basic human need, and that's to feed ourselves and our loved ones will need to feed a population of nearly 10 billion people as predicted by the FAO a population nearly 10 million people by 2050, with
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some estimates, requiring a 60 to 100% increase in the global food production patterns, the pressures of food man are predicted to further intensify by consumption trends, especially the demand for milk, meat, eggs, and this will be further accelerate
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or the growth in the middle class, particularly in emerging markets. The ability of farmers to meet this global food demand will be limited by water availability declining soil quality, and the impact of climate change.
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So the challenge here is really how do we grow more crops efficiently, while using less land and fewer natural resources, changes in climate patterns will create a more unpredictable environment for farming with volatile shifts in rainfall and weather
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patterns and changes in insect distribution behavior which will impact the crop yields. And then finally on top of those impacts the pandemic has exposed the weak links you know agri food supply chains, placing enormous stress because of bottlenecks in
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farm labor transport and logistics for these intersecting factors will require significant increases in productivity and.
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And this will be supported by r&d investments and increase collaboration across agricultural and food sectors.
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Next slide. So, one final thing before we begin, I would like to do a very very quick poll asking the audience one question, which benefit the flash a question here okay see in Flushing it now.
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So, really, just pick one, which aspect of food and agri tech, are you most curious about. I'm hoping that if we get to know a little bit but what I do is Cheers.
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Our experts can, you know, ignite some of the discussion will have our experts leader. So I'll keep the poll open for another maybe 15 seconds. And we can close you afterwards and I can quickly share their results.
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Okay and the results are in. And it seems that climate resilience crops worse with top answer chosen by our audience. Follow by well no I was wrong it's actually climate resilience crops and plant these meats that are were the top choices chosen by our
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audience, followed by farmer and smallholder empowerment. So I'm hoping that that can hopefully, you know, push our experts to to share a little bit more on on climate resilience crops on plant based beats, and how do we protect and empower smallholder
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farmers, particularly in in emerging markets. So I'll close the poll, and I move on to our next.
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Our finally our chat with the experts and I'm really delighted to. I'm hoping the speakers can maybe turn on the cameras and benefit could flash them as well.
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So let me just start with a brief introduction of, of who our experts are I'm very delighted to welcome back you prior. He is the co founder of tenacious ventures, a venture capital firm that supports early stage agri food innovators and invest in the
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Food and Agriculture sectors, surely go a policy specialist for the good food Institute, a global nonprofit that promotes plant and sell based alternatives to animal protein and Christine cool, founder and CEO of thought for food, a global innovation
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engine that empowers supports and fosters collaboration for the next generation of leaders to solve our food supply problems. So I'll, I'll start with asking our experts to share their insights and thoughts on the rise of food engineering integrity, and
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I would really like to encourage the audience to ask any questions that we have in the chat box.
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So maybe we'll start with an introduction.
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And my first question is that food in agriculture technology is so very dynamic area with new innovations emerging at a rapid pace to reinvent farming and and solve the food security and quantity problem in two minutes.
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can you tell us a bit more about your role in food and agriculture, and I will maybe ask Matthew to to start first.
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I like the time Well, that's a good idea.
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I'm good, thanks for the opportunity. Hi everyone. Good morning. Good evening. Good afternoon, wherever you happen to be yet look at tenacious ventures.
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We partner with a cool group we call ag tech operators who are seeking to unlock will changing impact at the intersection of what we refer to as digitally native agriculture and climate solutions.
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And when we say partnering that takes kind of two three forms. The first client is partnering backing early stage startups who are building tomorrow's agri food system, but at the same time building communities around the agri food system, we are change
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agents are reimagining value chains today, and so sort of working at both ends of the barbell so to speak.
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You know those two key interventions really are about this enormous transformation that you highlighted that our global food system had to go through.
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Thank you so much for that brief introduction. I will ask me to pass the mic to Julie and things Louis, and thanks eco business for inviting the advisory panel, so I'm truly from deify APEC, also known as a good for the city of Asia Pacific.
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What we do is that we're actually part of international network of nonprofit organizations working to develop an ecosystem for a more sustainable secure and just for teens by.
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We do three main pillars of work so just to break it down.
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Very briefly, I'll corporate innovation pillar focuses on connecting students startups and investors to provide open access market and consumer insights on the evolving all 14 space, our side tech team decides and technology team.
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They work with experts in the field and they also produce scientific research and expertise to plug into knowledge gaps in the opportunity field, and the policy wing which is where I'm at, focusing on the pack.
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Me and the rest of my Google affiliates, we work to with governments to ensure a clear regulatory pathway for our proteins to secure public funding and support for r&d for proteins, and we also work with multinational organizations like the United Nations
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FeO and the who, to put food on the Global Agenda when we talk about sustainability. Thank you.
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Great things, and I think that point on, working with different sectors, but something that I'll definitely touch on and ask more about later on. I'll pass it back on.
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Now to Christine to introduce yourself.
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Hi everyone this is Christine gold, I am in the very early morning hours here in Switzerland, it's 5am So, but what a delight to start my day on such an important topic, and a region of the world that is so exciting to see what's going on with food and
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agri tech, and I am the founder and CEO of an organization called thought for food. I started my organization after spending my entire career in agriculture, most recently at a large agri business.
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And what we do is really focused on catalyzing new innovation by focusing our efforts on the next generations of innovators, specifically, you know that under 40 innovator, all over the world we work with a global community of 30 k plus, and 170 countries.
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We leverage a process of global collaboration for local impact and have launched around 70 startups to date with three full exits.
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With startup acceleration and support isn't just what we do, we're also engaging, you know, a new generation into the challenges that we face when it comes to feeding the world helping them to live true to their values and ways of working so that those
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can be carried forward so that we can change the system. And lastly we work with, you know, leaders incumbents from corporate, as well as those organizations like the United Nations, where I had the chance to join the advisory board last year for the
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UN food systems summit, and we're trying to really you know again shift the system through innovation, and that is kind of engagement acceleration and connections and investment.
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Great, I really thank you so much Christian I really like how holistic and diverse, that the experts and experiences are and I think they'll contribute to a very engaging discussion.
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So, Christine I think I'll direct the first question to you.
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So as an innovation platform for food and agriculture, you know thoughtfully work with a lot of different stakeholders to find the solutions.
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Can you tell us more about some of the latest developments and trends that you're seeing in food and agriculture what's what's exciting what's happening out there.
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Yeah, well this is certainly like one of the most exciting sectors to be part of right now and this wasn't the case, you know about 10 years ago when I started thought for food.
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This was seen as an outdated sector with no prospects and, you know, the company that I worked for was actually like divested from a pharma company because you know nobody wanted to be part of agriculture.
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But what we've seen in the past 10 years is a rapid acceleration of, you know, interest in the sector. And it's been really exciting to see and to be part of that actually, and you have an amazing panel of people who are helping to shape and lead, you
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know, some of the trends that we're seeing and I think there's some obvious spaces I could talk about such as alternative proteins, you know, such as ag tech and precision AG, and of course like us leveraging breakthrough technologies AI, machine learning
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sin bio, and now like web three and blockchain are coming into the space, but what I wanted to talk about a little bit in relation to this question is that one of the trends that I think is really important to talk about too is the fact that agriculture
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is a very complex sector, we talked about a food system. And actually that is like very emblematic of how we like solve problems in the industrial era through optimization and efficiencies, but actually what we have is food systems that are you know locally
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contextual and are related to each other and interacting with each other but are also related to and interacting with all kinds of other systems that we have climate systems economic systems, political systems, I mean food is really light at the core
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and affected by and affecting all of these systems. So a trend that I'm seeing is of course all of those technologies and spaces that I mentioned earlier, but through the next generation being looked at in a systemic way.
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So it's not just all proteins, it's going beyond the beyond burger actually it's not just all proteins for all protein sake, it's like how do we incorporate under utilized crops, how do we empower smallholders how do we make technology inclusive, as we're
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bringing forward new solutions in these spaces. And, you know, flipping dilemmas that have existed in the past, how do we build right size technologies that can reach more farmers and include them, you know, as part of the, you know, user experience as
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technologies are being developed. So I just wanted to mention that I think like there's obvious trends, but where the sector is going is to build these rights I solutions that are relevant to their local context and incorporating more systemic, and if
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you will regenerative and sustainability principles throughout every part of that innovation cycle.
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But that's going to be really hard.
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You know, while we're seeing an increase in interest in that from the innovation side. Investors I think still have a way to go to see how to invest in these types of solutions that maybe have impact that the for, as well as the opportunity for great
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returns, but I think there's going to be a little bit of a challenge there to make these investable opportunities as quickly as they need to be great that's that's um thank you so much for that detail response I really liked how you touched on the intersection
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ality of food system or yeah food systems because we forget about how many layers that are in the context, aspect and how that impacts for the farmers as well.
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You touched something very relevant that I was going to ask you, my next question about the financial capital element and.
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This next question is for Matthew. So, you know tenacious ventures, it's a it's a Australian venture capital firm that invests in agri tech startups dedicated to improving finding those solutions.
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Maybe you can tell us more about what sort of start up, you have worked with and, you know, what are some of the main problems you're hoping to solve and this will be very unique to the Australian context as well.
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Thanks actually and definitely acknowledging Christine's point there about the challenges in the intersection of going out of the typical venture model and what's really required inaccurate food and that's why we like being a sector specific investor
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because we think that that that recall I'm going to kind of spending 100% of our time in the equity food systems is necessary. We think about it at that very early stage investor and that very earliest age do you think about it in identifying pathways
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whilst we are Australian based we're not Australian focused. So we invest significantly in Australia originality companies but they're all looking at global problems and so we think about pathways that the pathways with that we think about a creation
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and enablement for things like Weissman resource recovery what we call digitize biology democratized infrastructure, enhanced natural capital invaded risk and finance sustainable protein and lower intensity production.
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And so those are kind of investment themes if you like and companies that we invest in touch on kind of want to roll those.
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So, our very first investment account Coco Tara has a modular distributed biological process for processing organic waste.
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So the these magical boxes full of black, black soldier fly that can be put where waste is and process that into something that's valuable downstream.
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But, but solve, yo. So, in terms of wasting resources recovery that's really interesting, but also in terms of distributed infrastructure right when we talk about this concept of a digitally native agriculture, you know, if you look around at agriculture.
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Now, a lot of it is the size that it is because of the industrial era.
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You know grinding silos are these big and processing facilities of that size. And so we imagine these new pathways and they are enabled by technology clearly.
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And, you know, so swamped on products which is an autonomous vehicle platform for farming. Yes, it's true there's autonomy there and so that's about efficiency and things like that, but it's also about minimizing the emissions intensity of agriculture,
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lowering the amount of synthetic chemistry that use lowering the amount of nitrogen that's applied, because you're going to act with just a completely different level of precision.
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When you're autonomous when you're smaller form factor when you can spend, you know, a day doing something that a person doing it could argue for two hours to do.
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And so that's really what drives early stage investing is thinking about those new pathways that need to be created and and really ones that are enabled by this idea of digitally native agriculture, and I targeted squarely at delivering climate solutions.
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That's really interesting. I think the the point on digital native agriculture is that something that I've been noticing a lot, um, you know, for example, if you look at China, in India, there's, there's so much activity going on there with trying to
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come up with agri tech solutions, you know, employing mobile applications using Geo Data satellite tracking and, you know, track the soil and water input so it's really exciting.
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It's very fragmented and I think I'm sure we can touch more on that later on.
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But first I will just pivoting a little bit to Julie, and and my question for you is that, you know, a key focus area of the Good Food Institute is to make alternative proteins accessible, affordable and of course delicious.
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And there's been a huge expansion in the types of alternative proteins, being made available. You've got plant beast cultivated so beast.
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And it can be quite intimidating and confusing. I know for myself when I go grocery shopping.
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And I look at the ingredients and I it's overwhelming so maybe you can set the record straight and explain to the audience some of the more common types of alternative proteins.
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Yeah, I'm sure. So when we talk about ultimately proteins. There are three main types of alternative proteins, the first will be on these proteins the second would be cultivated meat or proteins, and that will be fermentation anywhere proteins.
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So if we start off with on these proteins. Their proteins like a meat ax Derrida plan B's and the mimic the taste and texture of animal based products.
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So these plant based proteins can be soy based body could be made from nuts chickpeas, or the being types or even see me an LD, and several of these products can actually already be found on all supermarket shelves, for example in Singapore if you go
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change or you go to cold storage, because of where you go with that would be upon these meats like impossible meat and beyond burger that's already available. And if we move on to cultivate it need these are basically needs that are grown from cells taken from
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from animals. So for example, a cultivated chicken is made of cells from the chicken without harming any chickens in the process. So I think this is this.
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This type of alternative protein is the least understood so I'll just give a quick elaboration of how it's made. So without technology that we have to be, we can actually grow animal cells in a device known as a cultivator and just call it beta will basically
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So the result is that we didn't meet him look and taste, and even cook like conventional meat that we have been eating all along but without the pathogens and other contaminants and also with a much smaller environmental footprint.
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So, as we all know, Singapore is currently the only country in the world that has gone to regulatory approval to sell cultivated me commercially, so that's very exciting and we're very happy that sample is being the front runner in this arena.
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Lastly I mentioned fermentation enable proteins.
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There are many types of women Tisha and so just to draw down to three main kinds there's traditional fermentation, we can think of, can be beer and wine to meet through traditional segmentation, there is a bio med spas fermentation.
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So if we go to supermarket we find corn nuggets which I mean from Michael protein. And this is a precision fermentation for precision fermentation is not really to produce and a product per se, but it's a pretty specific proteins enzymes, so he wasn't
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pigments that could enhance an existing product, rather than being a corporate on its own. So I hope that was helpful.
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That's super helpful. It's a great introduction to all the different types and a follow up question for usually is whether you can explain how these alternative protein shakes better for for the environment and also human health.
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I think there's been a lot of discourse in recent years, along to be, whether it's actually better for humans and whether it's better for the environment like we could actually be using more inputs to create them.
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But yeah, I just wanted to to hear your thoughts on that.
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Definitely. So, the, the libertine space is very nice and so isn't at his initial stage so what you mentioned earlier about needing more resources that is definitely true especially for economy to need.
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And I think to do a comparison we got to look at a current food system, which is responsible for 34% of global greenhouse emissions and half of these emissions actually come from just producing protein, alone, and the current system is not only land intensive
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and water intensive, that's what higher risk of spreading and developing do nothing diseases, which means do these events bread crumbs in fact the animals to humans.
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If we look into the future.
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We know that global protein demand is set to rise in Asia, or the own just looking at our region, the appetite for meat and seafood has been projected to increase by another 70 plus percent in the next few decades to 2015, and this will continue contributing
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to a deeper station what a depletion and massive greenhouse emissions, which the speakers as I mentioned earlier, and where does alternative proteins come in, when we conducted some life cycle assessments with our partners on plant based meat, it shows
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it on these needs can have the potential to require up to 90% less land and conventional production. It also emits up to 90% less greenhouse gases and users, up to 99%, less water than conventional meat production.
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So that's just from a sustainability perspective, and we'll be talking about the public health perspective, We look at how animals are being raised to the to feed the human population so these animals are raised and confined conditions and consistently
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fat, low doses of antibiotics in order to keep them healthy, so that humans can consume them after that, and these practices actually encouraged the evolution of superbugs that will be increasingly resistant to modern antibiotics as we know it.
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So alternate proteins, on the other hand doesn't require any antibiotics feeding into process it, thereby eliminates the chance of zoonotic diseases, developing and spreading, and an alternate proteins between gives us the opportunity to eat the same
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meat to the same taste texture as conventional neat, but with a smaller environment, environmental footprint and healthy option for us.
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Thank you so much that super comprehensive, so maybe I'll shift again the conversation back to Matthew. And you mentioned that you know tissues ventures.
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but also as someone deeply familiar with the tech sector in Australia. Maybe you could share with us some of the major successes that you've seen agri tech help to achieve, and whether this can be replicated or, or, you know, apply to other markets, looking
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Thanks fascinating question I think especially given 32%. Interesting.
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We are agriculturally productive in a global sense I'm Lee, something like 12% will fully but 60% of the food we produce is exported.
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And as you know, the dry continent.
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We've always had a focus on agricultural research that has been designed to target largely I was trying to call this like to make a string damas better able to cope with what was already a tough climate.
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I think what we're now, understanding a lot better and I don't know if people are watching the news in Australia because there's a lot of sort of more dire things going on but Australia at the moment is suffering under you know your mates stress from
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significant like absolute record breaking rainfall at this point, which is not, you know, a typical problem for the continent. What we're really seeing is that Australia sits on two or three decades of what we can reasonably call climate adaptive agricultural
00:39:45.000 --> 00:39:46.000
00:39:46.000 --> 00:40:04.000
And so, that becomes very interesting when we think about what that means on a global basis that understanding all of you know, all of the things that are necessary to have not just crop varieties but production systems and methods and approaches that
00:40:04.000 --> 00:40:16.000
can be far more adaptive to and resilient to the larger peaks and larger troughs that we are going to have to produce food on the back off.
00:40:16.000 --> 00:40:29.000
And so I think that that's that's somewhat what we see at Asia so we want to have a global perspective in terms of the application of the technology, but we do expect a lot of the original innovation to be sourced in Australia.
00:40:29.000 --> 00:40:43.000
Because, you know, I mean somewhat the perspective has been inward looking in terms of we were largely doing it to make Australian farmers more efficient, you know, with a second least protected agricultural economy in the world.
00:40:43.000 --> 00:40:56.000
But the great benefit of that is a cool with that as there will be increasing demand for deeper understanding of this and how it how it applies in different geographies and different production systems, then we're very enthusiastic about that.
00:40:56.000 --> 00:41:04.000
And so that's that's the kind of combination of those two fields that we say thank you for that Matthew.
00:41:04.000 --> 00:41:18.000
Right, so I guess I'll, my, my next question is directed at Christine, and this question is talking about, well, you know, technological innovation is is obviously important to resolve some of these challenges.
00:41:18.000 --> 00:41:34.000
But, but it's only one part of the equation. So, maybe I want to ask Christina and then surely the same question. But what do you think are the other important pieces of the puzzle to to tackle this issue and I know with your experiences in working with
00:41:34.000 --> 00:41:43.000
different stakeholders I'm really interested to know more about the dynamics and working with with the stakeholders.
00:41:43.000 --> 00:41:58.000
Sure. And just like a quick reaction to the points that Matthew made I just wanted to say that this is indeed like exactly the approach that we're trying to take with our innovator community which is, you know, the problems and challenges that we face
00:41:58.000 --> 00:42:07.000
are global in nature climate change is a global phenomenon, you know the resource scarcity etc that we're facing around the world.
00:42:07.000 --> 00:42:19.000
These are things we share because we're on one planet but we do need locally relevant solutions that are contextual for the types of farms and the contacts right that exist in the different parts of the world.
00:42:19.000 --> 00:42:34.000
And so that's why it's so important to you know do this like trite statement of like how can we collaborate globally and accelerate the sharing of knowledge and best practice, even failure so that we can learn from each other, so that we can accelerate
00:42:34.000 --> 00:42:48.000
our local innovation efforts. And this is something that digital tools are enabling that I think is really, really exciting you know not everyone has to start from scratch when they're, you know, developing an ag technology.
00:42:48.000 --> 00:43:04.000
And you know how can we start to like really foster that collaborative global community. That's something that I think about all the time, and there comes the other actors in the system, besides just like the entrepreneurs, or the investors, you know,
00:43:04.000 --> 00:43:21.000
there are other actors like policy leaders, for example, who can help create enabling environments for innovation to move forward. And I think it is, you know, in my experience, a very different world to be part of and like i said i've been part of the
00:43:21.000 --> 00:43:32.000
UN advisory committee last year for the food system summit. And, you know, for people like I work with on the day to day and I consider myself one of them like entrepreneurial people who are like roll up your sleeves like agile nimble let's get things
00:43:32.000 --> 00:43:47.000
done let's experiment and fail forward, that's just like not how the world of policy works, there's a lot of like, different types of stakeholders and a lot of very complex, you know ways of working that makes sense for that space but how can we link
00:43:47.000 --> 00:44:01.000
worlds together is something I think is really, really important. And so the work, for example gf I just, you know, released their report about like the acceleration of investment in the all protein space.
00:44:01.000 --> 00:44:03.000
They did a report.
00:44:03.000 --> 00:44:13.000
I think it was a couple of years ago now called, you know, a pack opportunities, and it was about, like, you know, new types of crops that can be brought into the all protein space.
00:44:13.000 --> 00:44:24.000
These types of reports are extremely interesting to help shape discourse right and educate policymakers, about these sectors that are like accelerating really fast.
00:44:24.000 --> 00:44:38.000
And then of course you know come consumers that also need to be educated and brought on board I saw there was like one question about this, you know there's a whirlwind of change coming their way and it's like, hard to keep up with for the average consumer
00:44:38.000 --> 00:44:55.000
and there's a lot of questions that the app so I think it's really important especially for, you know, science based innovators, to be able to engage diverse set of stakeholders, with, you know, different interests in this journey we're in it together
00:44:55.000 --> 00:45:04.000
you know as they that other comment is on Spaceship Earth, there are no passengers we are all crew. And it's not you know we shouldn't be.
00:45:04.000 --> 00:45:19.000
It's all proteins versus livestock, it's, you know, big farming versus small farming there's actually like all kinds of context and nuance and questions that need to be addressed and how do we bring people into the conversation find the spectrum of opportunities
00:45:19.000 --> 00:45:24.000
by exploring the nuance and building bridges between these different players.
00:45:24.000 --> 00:45:33.000
And that's very complicated to do it takes a little bit more time, but it's worth it in the end because we can move beyond polarized discussions where nobody wins actually.
00:45:33.000 --> 00:45:50.000
So, thank you, Christine, I think, surely maybe you have something else. And, you know, Christine brought up a good point about policy and how sometimes the government world can be really slowing and very reactive and maybe you can talk a little bit more
00:45:50.000 --> 00:45:59.000
about in Singapore because, as you mentioned earlier we Singapore's the first country to approve the regulatory sale of cultured meat.
00:45:59.000 --> 00:46:04.000
Yeah, like how you could talk a little bit more. From that perspective.
00:46:04.000 --> 00:46:15.000
Yeah, sure. Thanks Kristine you covered. Like a lot of ground and a lot of points that I wanted to make on a need for consumer education that's super important because no matter how amazing the product is consumers need to know the benefits of consuming
00:46:15.000 --> 00:46:32.000
these products over the conventional meats in order to make better choices in your, in your habits and your behaviors, when it comes to shopping for food, and I'll just like to add two other points so we mentioned, the government perspective, yes so we
00:46:32.000 --> 00:46:47.000
really do need the government and a public sector to really back this evolving space. So what is really crucial because we need your support to accelerate r&d, and in order to help the startups and these companies to scale their manufacturing and production,
00:46:47.000 --> 00:46:55.000
you know, to bring down the cost to make all kinds of proteins accessible to more people so that it's not just something that will need the elites can afford.
00:46:55.000 --> 00:47:03.000
Because that goes against the grain of the point of creating a system that is more just more secure more sustainable and something that needs challenges like global hunger.
00:47:03.000 --> 00:47:15.000
A lot of people still don't have easy access to food or consistent supply of food and that is a challenge it GFI and our partners here on the panel today and elsewhere wants to address.
00:47:15.000 --> 00:47:27.000
So, we think that does public support will be really important because there's a lot of tech advancements going on, but these tech advancements need to be leveraged in order to meet the projected protein demand in the future in the region and globally.
00:47:27.000 --> 00:47:42.000
And I'd like to emphasize that as a sort of a need for intergovernmental collaboration so Singapore has been great really proactive in not only producing the first novel foods framework regulatory framework, but also sharing it online, so that other regulators,
00:47:42.000 --> 00:47:53.000
other countries out of partners can access it and use it as sort of a building block to kick start their own their own development of the regulatory framework, even to build on it.
00:47:53.000 --> 00:48:08.000
And while that is important. We also want governments and regulators to collaborate more in order to increase the ease of importing and exporting this alternative protein products all ingredients, because these products can be produced, but they do need
00:48:08.000 --> 00:48:21.000
markets to go to, in order to reach the consumers. So I would say, those that the government support is super important. And I think the last point I want to make is the need for local talent.
00:48:21.000 --> 00:48:33.000
We do need local talent we do need more talent in a pack to be interested in all four teams field, because that would be the only way to make this entire ecosystem sustainable and we do need to educate consumers probably listening to educate students
00:48:33.000 --> 00:48:49.000
so gi has started GFI communities which is a student community viewing initiative in order to get more students interested to expose them to opportunities, and to get down to hopefully consider putting in desk goes, whether it's policy skills business
00:48:49.000 --> 00:48:50.000
skills or aside text goes to really move this industry and its ecosystem forward.
00:48:50.000 --> 00:48:59.000
or aside text goes to really move this industry and its ecosystem forward. Thank you so much Julie that's super engaging and interesting.
00:48:59.000 --> 00:49:16.000
My next question is for Matthew, and I'm just gonna again, we're constantly shifting in this conversation but that's what exciting to talking a little bit more about the the agri food supply chain, and I know generally it's divided into, you know, the
00:49:16.000 --> 00:49:26.000
upstream, which is cultivating and growing the food midstream, which is processing and distributing the food and then the downstream, the sale and consumption.
00:49:26.000 --> 00:49:40.000
And I think from your perspective, or which aspect of this value chain Do you think most urgently needs more attention more solutions, more engagement.
00:49:40.000 --> 00:49:50.000
Thanks for the question. I am going to give a political answer which is to not answer the question directly, I actually think and it goes to Christine's point about one Earth.
00:49:50.000 --> 00:50:00.000
I think actually some of the challenges with ag tech as an investment category have been that they have focused too much on individual segments of the supply chain.
00:50:00.000 --> 00:50:23.000
And the reality is that that whilst there are individual participants in a supply chain value flows along the chain, and the it's there often asymmetric.
00:50:23.000 --> 00:50:40.000
capture. And if the intervention into the, into the supply chain doesn't match that I symmetry didn't want to take, it'll it'll fail because it's, it's not shared by enough.
00:50:40.000 --> 00:50:49.000
Got stakeholders, or the economics or the target market can't support the transition on their own.
00:50:49.000 --> 00:51:07.000
And so, what we find in fact is the most successful transformative businesses have a business model that is a combination of innovation which enables something new, but a business model that recognizes fundamentally that normally.
00:51:07.000 --> 00:51:18.000
There is a difference between the user and the beneficiary. And they are often separated along the supply chain. And if your business model doesn't capture the value to the beneficiary but in St.
00:51:18.000 --> 00:51:34.000
The take up by the user. And it's almost impossible to get the scale. And that's in fact what we have largely seen and one of the reasons while I venture style investing has had, you know, Paki success because a lot of the interventions have been through
00:51:34.000 --> 00:51:54.000
targeted. And so we really try and take that holistic view we really try and look for founders who have both the kind of innovation like which creates the opportunity but also that understanding and insight and an unreasonable belief in a new version
00:51:54.000 --> 00:52:01.000
of, you know, that part of one of the value chains in agriculture.
00:52:01.000 --> 00:52:05.000
Now that I've said all that sound like a very abstract answer so I'm happy to be more specific, if, if you want, concrete examples.
00:52:05.000 --> 00:52:22.000
If you want concrete examples. Yeah, maybe you could be a little bit more specific and also ties in with my next question which is, maybe, you know, is there any tension between investors and venture capitalists and the solutions you know like the capital
00:52:22.000 --> 00:52:24.000
side and the solution side.
00:52:24.000 --> 00:52:34.000
What's the tension or the linkages, like, yeah, I mean just to say give a quick example of just one that comes to the top of my head.
00:52:34.000 --> 00:52:49.000
So, your measurement of soil carbon is a problem right it's it's it's it's it's expensive it's difficult it's it's it's slow. And so there's a lot of innovations there to make it faster and there are plenty of ways that technology, you know, spectral
00:52:49.000 --> 00:53:05.000
analyzers and all sorts of things and whilst it's true that that might make it quicker and faster, in and of itself. If you're just going to a farmer and saying here you can test your soil faster you can find out your soil organic carbon level faster.
00:53:05.000 --> 00:53:20.000
That's not big enough to get to scale. Right. What you really need to do is to work out okay, you know, in the end, probably trading and offset is not going to be what agriculture mostly does agriculture mostly is going to have to get to net zero x pound
00:53:20.000 --> 00:53:36.000
guy. And so very few farmers will have many calendars to trade, so the business model has to work at okay how do we get, you know, the players the Millers the motors, the food, the processes that manufacturers who want all of those desirable characteristics
00:53:36.000 --> 00:53:51.000
in their food to ameliorate offset the cost, extend and educate the farmers to take those things up, because they're the ones who benefit because the food company or the retailer who wants to put these high provenance you know high sustainability products
00:53:51.000 --> 00:53:59.000
on the shelves recognizes the value of that because they're much closer to the person who actually pays.
00:53:59.000 --> 00:54:07.000
So hopefully that that kind of made that idea a little bit more concrete. And I think the tension there us Yes, I sort of.
00:54:07.000 --> 00:54:23.000
We wrote an article, sort of, somewhat you will get real jokey title was how Silicon Valley killed ag tech and that the point really was that there was a lack of patience, right there was a desire to sort of take existing templates, it's like okay well
00:54:23.000 --> 00:54:35.000
there's 100 million farmers in the world and so we could just get farmers using their software on their phone, and charge them $1 a month and would be you know we're we're, we're off to the races.
00:54:35.000 --> 00:54:51.000
And I think the bad news that was a bit of medical attention all the sort of it work, digital transformation worked that way over here. And so, you know, we will just take that model and apply that here, and I think that that piling all that money and
00:54:51.000 --> 00:55:06.000
and then just sort of building software after software after software had actually had a had a worse impact because people's eyes just started to kind of glaze over about all this kind of funding screen can be that really wasn't solving problems that
00:55:06.000 --> 00:55:07.000
00:55:07.000 --> 00:55:26.000
And I think to Julie's point before, you know, like, when you think about smallholder farming and and how a collective of people can kind of get together and be informed about better decision making that individually those kind of investments, difficult.
00:55:26.000 --> 00:55:37.000
I think that's really where digital transformation has promised but you can't just go try and sell you know subscription software to all to each farmer.
00:55:37.000 --> 00:55:53.000
And so I think that that's your we're now seeing an awareness, all of those things needing to go in lockstep crystal right them really agreeing with that if you want to add on to it.
00:55:53.000 --> 00:56:07.000
It's like music to my ears. It's something I champion, all the time, not only to like the investment community but you know to this policy world that I'm part of is that the typical like VC model is not fit for purpose for agriculture because there are
00:56:07.000 --> 00:56:24.000
different time horizons and you know risk profiles consumer acceptance issues regulatory acceptance issues. And so, you know, coming in and applying like a software model right to ag tech is is just not going to work and expecting exits and five years
00:56:24.000 --> 00:56:35.000
and things like this when you have complex technologies they need to be built the value proposition need to be, you know explained and understood tested and deployed.
00:56:35.000 --> 00:56:50.000
So we actually have built like improper food a whole like module and training in our acceleration program called WTF, which stands for not what you might think it stands for but stands for where's the farmer, so that we can actually also like a lot of
00:56:50.000 --> 00:57:08.000
people from Tech are coming into being like, I can build an app you know to whatever like provide geospatial data or, you know, analyze soils and the farmer is gonna love it and actually like they're not necessarily, including a farmer into their, you
00:57:08.000 --> 00:57:24.000
know innovation process so our modules really focused on like getting out there you know boots in the soil talking to farmers, understanding their needs and their language and what their value proposition is and exploring new types of business models
00:57:24.000 --> 00:57:38.000
that don't make the farmers pay for everything and actually I know tenacious mentors, did a great article with Marissa from micro Tara who was one of the teams we had the pleasure of working with that really was like you know farmers, making them pay
00:57:38.000 --> 00:57:54.000
for value and sustainability they don't have the their margins are so low, they don't have the money to do this. And so we're out where, what are the new types of business models that we can explore where that value proposition is, you know, is clear
00:57:54.000 --> 00:58:08.000
and shared and I think there's some really interesting angles in today's world, we're seeing companies vertically integrate, you know we're seeing that a lot of consumer facing companies actually do want to tell a story to that conscious consumer particularly
00:58:08.000 --> 00:58:16.000
millennials and Gen Z, who are willing to, you know, evidence shows put money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainability and pay premiums for products that they believe in.
00:58:16.000 --> 00:58:30.000
And so is there an opportunity to, you know, bring the value for some of the practices that partners adopt you know closer to the consumer it's going to be hard, because not every consumer is willing to pay and we know that that's a complicated space
00:58:30.000 --> 00:58:44.000
but it's worth exploring and this is what in our acceleration program we're really trying to push forward so that we're not just getting tech based solutions that aren't fit for purpose for farmers and aren't going to make a dent on these so I really
00:58:44.000 --> 00:58:57.000
appreciate it, you know, Matthew this point, and it's something I'm advocating a lot to. Thank you so much, Christine I think it's really ultra timely because I've been having a lot of conversations with other
00:58:57.000 --> 00:59:14.000
key opinion leaders in the tech space and the old mentioned that there are so many technology for the smallholder farmers but educating them is a huge hurdle and it will continue to be a huge hurdle and the cost of, of trying to get them to to use your
00:59:14.000 --> 00:59:20.000
solutions is also another huge hurdle so that's a key message that we have to keep in mind.
00:59:20.000 --> 00:59:34.000
So, I am conscious of the time, I will just be asking the, the experts a few more questions for my list before I move on to the q amp a, I'm really surprised by how fast time flies when we're having a really interesting discussion.
00:59:34.000 --> 00:59:55.000
So maybe we can put on our crystal ball thinking hats and kind of think more about you know what's to come in the in the coming years and maybe I will, you know, ask, truly, when we Christine touched a little bit on the consumer perspective, and, you
00:59:55.000 --> 01:00:07.000
know, especially the younger generations are very conscious of what they choose to buy and and you know basically choosing with your wallets. And in terms of the consumption of alternative needs.
01:00:07.000 --> 01:00:10.000
How do you think it won't be like in the future.
01:00:10.000 --> 01:00:20.000
You know how many consumers reacting to it now and he spent an indication of how it will be like in the future.
01:00:20.000 --> 01:00:35.000
We definitely hope that more consumers will consume authentic needs for sure. And, um, yeah so what comes to mind is a recent analysis done by McKinsey, there is a lot of potential for cultivated meet, not only match, but to suppositories and textural
01:00:35.000 --> 01:00:49.000
conventional meat and to introduce new and more novel products for consumers to get them more choices. And if consumers to take that up, then the market could reach up to 25 billion just by 2030 years, which is an eight years.
01:00:49.000 --> 01:01:03.000
And what I find really exciting. In the next few years is that, that could be so much potential, with which caught a bit of meat can remove the constraints of current animal agriculture, for example, the industry could select the best cell lines for rugby,
01:01:03.000 --> 01:01:19.000
beef, or even a wall salmon and replicate them at the same cost as, for example, the Petty's or common fish stocks like tilapia that we have to be. And just to jump into the point that you mentioned earlier on, consumers, it's true like in Singapore,
01:01:19.000 --> 01:01:32.000
and if we just look around globally, the positive trend is that more consumers are increasingly aware of sustainability and the need to incorporate or the desire to incorporate some environmental considerations Wendy consume and Wendy buy things including
01:01:32.000 --> 01:01:47.000
food, but the caveat is that Jeffrey's research on consumer insights, which is open access so everyone can access it has shown that no matter. Sorry. No matter how much someone a consumer Kaspersky environment, what you would prioritize when it comes
01:01:47.000 --> 01:02:00.000
to food is still the taste the texture of the food and the definitely the cost of the product because it needs to be accessible. So, at this stage we have more than 100 companies will why he needs to produce cultivated meat that's consumer ready to be
01:02:00.000 --> 01:02:14.000
eaten, but the industry coming forward without the public support that I mentioned earlier, in terms of regulations in terms of funding to scale. So, yeah, I think that's the little crystal walling that I have for the next few years and I love to hear
01:02:14.000 --> 01:02:15.000
your thoughts from the speakers are you.
01:02:15.000 --> 01:02:31.000
thoughts from the speakers are you. Great. Um, I just okay maybe in the interest of time, I just want to move on to some of the really interesting questions that our audience has been asking so there's one question from from army, and he says you know enjoying a conversation on
01:02:31.000 --> 01:02:47.000
enjoying the conversation on technology innovation and intersexuality in agriculture so far, and he's wondering how these challenges and opportunities are will play out in the domain of urban development and you know he's asking because cities will have
01:02:47.000 --> 01:02:51.000
to import more food and feed more people moving forward.
01:02:51.000 --> 01:02:57.000
The world is general, generally, generally, becoming more urban.
01:02:57.000 --> 01:03:11.000
So, and I see that Matthew has has answered a little bit so I'm wondering if, if, surely or Christine, or maybe Matthew can add on to answering the question.
01:03:11.000 --> 01:03:13.000
Well, I mean, I'll just quickly add like I'm.
01:03:13.000 --> 01:03:24.000
I think this has to become quantitative right this whole this whole question of sustainability has to become properly quantitative, and when we, when we talk about digitally native agriculture that's what promises.
01:03:24.000 --> 01:03:35.000
And so that's why we talk about sustainable protein, because I think, you know, the only reasonable measure can be that at population scale.
01:03:35.000 --> 01:03:57.000
It's, it's quantitatively sustainable along the lines of, you know what, we as humans care about because the planet will transform and other life forms will take over right but but if we want to keep living on this planet is a pretty strict set of things
01:03:57.000 --> 01:04:07.000
And so I think when we think about urban, you know, it's still, it's still a matrix of its energy, it's it's weird as the border controller that's where does the food, come from.
01:04:07.000 --> 01:04:11.000
I think you know again technology is going to provide a lot of solutions there.
01:04:11.000 --> 01:04:20.000
But, you know, it'll be, it'll be a combination of of solutions.
01:04:20.000 --> 01:04:38.000
And maybe just to jump into I think like I get really excited about the potential for urban spaces to become, you know hubs for food production and actually to think through, you know, how can we feed people more locally more sustainably.
01:04:38.000 --> 01:04:51.000
And you know vertical farming urban gardens all of these places like they have a model now but where can this go What is the potential of what this could be, how can we get more people thinking about this and connecting with their food system, you know,
01:04:51.000 --> 01:05:06.000
through these types of programs. And the other thing I just want to mention is that, you know, we talked about the importance of like bringing on board diverse stakeholders well I have seen a really interesting model in Atlanta, in Georgia, and they actually
01:05:06.000 --> 01:05:21.000
had a official government position in the mayoral office that was focused on urban food security, and they were like looking at combating food deserts, which is a big issue in the US that's like places where there is no like fresh produce and you know
01:05:21.000 --> 01:05:36.000
readily available it's basically just fast food, but they. What I loved about the model that they took was that they invited innovators and urban agricultural, of course, but they also invited architects and urban planners to create this new type of conversation
01:05:36.000 --> 01:05:40.000
about how do we solve like cityscapes for the future.
01:05:40.000 --> 01:05:57.000
Integrating, you know food into the the different you know aspects of how cities are being developed and designed and I think like all of us can do more of that, not just in cities but in rural areas but everywhere, how do we bring in new disciplinary
01:05:57.000 --> 01:06:10.000
expertise and new perspectives and our developing solutions. So I just wanted to like, bring that out as a model, because I think like again if we think about scaling knowledge and best practice that's a really interesting approach that I think more cities
01:06:10.000 --> 01:06:12.000
could take on board.
01:06:12.000 --> 01:06:25.000
Thank you, Christine racially sure that some yeah yeah just want to add from the Singapore perspective. So, as we all know, Singapore is super small we only have 1% of all then okay good for any sort of farming activities and we import more than 90% of
01:06:25.000 --> 01:06:35.000
our food stuffs with the population so this issue of food security this issue of how do we feed the growing population and region is very putting on for Singapore.
01:06:35.000 --> 01:06:50.000
And I think that this is where, as I mentioned earlier the whole time also preteens can really play a role because it makes sense for Singapore we had this 30 by 30 plan so by 2030 we would like to fulfill nutritional needs of our population by at least
01:06:50.000 --> 01:07:04.000
30%, and how do we do that when we are not going to be allocating for example more than two farms, we're not going to be, and we also have to be conscious that we found while increasing the ability to produce more food to grow local into consumer goal
01:07:04.000 --> 01:07:18.000
we accept the conscious of the carbon footprint that we would produce from these agriculture activities. So, I would, I would think that this would be a really interesting conversation on, what do we what we see in Singapore, for example, in the next
01:07:18.000 --> 01:07:32.000
decade, when we, When we go to the north, which is currently if it were farms like big farms and chicken fries, we will be seeing bioreactors more bioreactors producing cultivated meat, taking up very little then, but producing huge quantities of meat
01:07:32.000 --> 01:07:44.000
that can just travel from the farm to the fork in this really small city state with a very very low carbon footprint. So, really excited about that and yeah, that's just on me for to Singapore perspective.
01:07:44.000 --> 01:07:46.000
We thank you for that.
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So our next question from the audience and this is from Julian, and she asks, How do we ensure that the stock needed to make alternative proteins, just not create a problem elsewhere in terms of exacerbating water stress land acquisition and food security
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for lower income nations and.
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Surely this is most relevant to you but the other. Matthew and Christine please feel free to chime in as well.
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Yeah, definitely so when we want to introduce our to promote also authentic proteins is a climate fusion, it definitely can create those negative effects they were trying to mitigate we we want the supply chain to definitely be able to feed the global
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population, especially the going combinations who don't have constant supply of food, especially pockets of them. And if we look at the existing data on, for example, producing cultivated mean it's true that it is intensive, in terms of water usage, for
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example and resource usage but that is looking at it at the current point of production and not looking at its potential to scale. So I think that in all fairness, I think that it would be useful to think about what could we achieve if we have for example,
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are we are able to bring the stakeholders together to government policy makers, the industry, all these wonderful ideas from Tegan innovation and to leverage on the scientific expertise that we have at our disposal to really be able to scale alternative
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of proteins, so that we can decrease the cost, decrease the resources, the resources use, and to really be able to provide a supply chain or protein supply chain that will not only beat Singapore, but beyond Singapore.
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I think that this question just highlights like what we've talked about today about the need to think through systemic solutions we don't want to as we transition to, you know, the plant based future to replicate the models of the industrial era of mono
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cropping and you know exploitation of resources or not including smallholders or, you know, exacerbating climate change so it's really important as we're like building out these supply chains that we're thinking, you know about these broader systemic
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And I think that's a huge opportunity for innovators by the way it's like there's a great opportunity to jump in with a lot of the ag technologies that can be in support of crops that are used for, You know the alternative protein space and how regenerative
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ag which is a big trend at the moment I forgot to mention that one, and circular economy but how those types of principles can be incorporated again, and how these crops are produced transported and you know ultimately us, so there's just like with all of the problems we face there's a world of opportunities
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a world of opportunities to solve them and to think differently and how we solve them. And, you know, learn the lessons from the past and one thing that always sticks with me is that everybody is like our food system as a failure.
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And actually, like, it's not a failure per se.
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It's working exactly how we designed it to work. And when you think about that it actually is like very empowering because it's like we designed it it's working how we designed it you know it's very like it's delivering calories and in an efficient way.
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We can redesign it to be sustainable regenerative inclusive and mitigating you know the problems that we currently face so when you think about it through that lens, it's like, how can we redesign that and think about all of these things.
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Thank you so much, Christine.
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In the interest of time, I. It's been over an hour already so I think I would really like to end our very very insightful session with one final question and this is something that maybe you could be a bit more cautiously optimistic about.
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And my question is, you know, in one sentence. What is one thing that you're excited about the world of tech in, in 2022, and I will start with Matthew first.
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One thing. Oh look, I just think actually presenting tonight at the very start, we've sort of, you know, it's it's it's agriculture's moment in the sun, and and with all the focus that we have and on various challenges people can see all around them.
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This is our moment. And that's very exciting.
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Christine maybe Can you can go about what the future is sorry. Yeah, like, what's one thing that you're just excited about in about the world of tech in 2022 something you're, you're, you know, looking forward to.
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Yeah, I'm really looking forward to, you know, having more diverse perspectives, you know, at the table, if you will, so that we can do new things in incredible ways.
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Perfect and surely I think for me, as a policy, especially as I would be really excited to see more regulatory advancements and harmonization across countries, because that will really really help to enable and bring the entire industry forward.
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Perfect. Sir, I love the responses it's so it touches on so many different elements and I think that's a great way to end our session.
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I think before we go I really like to thank the speakers again for their time to share their knowledge and expertise on the audience for their really insightful questions and participation.
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I think one more thing is, if we just get a picture with the speakers or a screenshot in our world of Ben I think you can take one at a time. Maybe I'll just do a countdown.
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Okay, I'm hoping he got he got the shot but thank you again to to the speakers and the audience.
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As I mentioned, if you take a monthly session of very as you can see it's a very relaxed chat everyone is so so enthusiastic with their responses. Next month we will be talking about decarbonisation and yes will be publishing the dialogue and the transcript
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of today's event on all platforms we do look out for it. And again, if you're keen to learn more about the livability challenge. Please do click on the link below or, I think it's in the chat box that Jeanette has pieced it already.
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But yes, thank you again everyone, have a wonderful Friday, great weekend. Thank you so much to Matthew truly and Christine, really appreciate your insights and sharing, and I look forward to seeing everyone next session.
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