Abhinav Mehra represents ID Capital, which invests in Agtech and Foodtech in Asia Pacific. In his GEC Lab, he discussed with participants on the challenges that entrepreneurs face in implementing innovations in the agriculture and food industry, and the potential ways in which entrepreneurs could partner with various stakeholders to bring forth the necessary innovations to resolve agriculture and food issues in the country.
The common challenges faced by entrepreneurs as Abhinav mentioned in his lab session are resistance by farmers in adopting new farming techniques and practices, the lack of motivation in adopting new techniques and practices results in entrepreneurs having to incur high costs in running pilot tests with farmers to educate and persuade them to see the effective results seen with innovation, overall lack of financing available to raise capital and funds, aside from government-related financing (Agrobank) and R&D grants, monopoly by large domestic and multi-national companies which makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to work directly with them unless the companies have a vested interest or have a vendor relationship with the start-ups.
As a result, there is no platform available for entrepreneurs to collaborate with large companies in developing new innovations.
In November 2017, Mekong Agriculture Technology Challenge (MATch) was launched. MATch aim to support agricultural startups for the Mekong region’s agriculture. Agriculture and food tech industry in Mekong is expected to be more competitive and sustainable, in the future.
There are two challenges in MATch which is the MATch Startup Accelerator and the MATch Market Access Accelerator.
The MATch Startup Accelerator is focused for agritech startups and traditional agriculture businesses which at their early stages with their business models that can be scale up, in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
As for international agritech which is mature enough, The MATch Market Access Accelerator aims to expand them into the Mekong region. Hence, participants will receive mentiorship and assistance with their expansion plans. This includes product adaptation and driving relationships with partners and investors in the region.