India-based agritech startup Ecozen Solutions has been named as the winner of the inaugural Rabobank Food Loss Challenge Asia at the bank’s Food & Agriculture Advisory Board meeting on November 13 in Singapore.
Selected out of five finalists, Ecozen aims to improve farm-to-fork movement of perishable goods by providing solar-based cold rooms at the farm level.
The startup has implemented its solutions in Southeast Asian region, including in Indonesia and Vietnam with the help of high-tech polymer manufacturer Covestro. It is looking forward to expand its business further into Southeast Asia and Africa.
Ecozen won both the Jury’s Prize of US$15,000 and the Audience’s Prize of US$5,000.
“This Challenge will help us to reach out and collaborate with like-minded businesses and organisations working towards tackling food loss. Further, it can also provide access to capital which would fast track our product development and business expansion plans,” said Ecozen Co-Founder and COO Prateek Singhai in a press statement.
Through this event, as a global bank in the food and agriculture sector, Rabobank invited submissions from regional agritech startups as an initiative to facilitate constructive dialogue across the agriculture industry spectrum between solutions providers, food & agriculture corporates, and small holder farmers.
The competition focusses on the issue of regional and global food loss; in which every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food are lost worldwide as the global population is forecasted to exceed nine billion by 2050. The number signifies an increasing demand for food that will require global production to rise by at least 60 per cent.
The winner of the competition is being judged based on the scalability of impact, strength of business model, robustness of solution and positive impact on smallholder farmers.
“One of the main objectives of the Rabobank Food Loss Challenge was to connect startups 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 and agricultural businesses and investors,” said Rabobank Foundation Head of Innovation Albert Boogaard.
From Asia to Africa
In addition to Ecozen, the competition also included other finalists from India such as CropIn Technology Solutions (which designs decision-making smart tools that deliver “future-ready” farming solutions) and Elixia Tech Solutions (which utilises data to provide transportation, logistics, and supply chain solutions for food and other industries).
The Southeast Asian region is being represented by Singapore’s own Eachmile Technologies, which uses mobile technology to transform global agriculture and seafood supply chains by capturing data and connecting farmers and fishers to improve their livelihoods.
The competition also named a finalist from Kenya. Pula Advisor aims to “radically” restructure agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers with bundles of financial and agronomic services that include agricultural inputs and precision agronomic advisory.
Image Credit: Rabobank Food Loss Challenge Asia