More than 150 leaders from across South-East Asia, from government, farmer organizations, business and civil society, came together today to share and evaluate experiences from the first year of Grow Asia, an initiative to provide access to capital and knowledge for small farmers. The debate focused on what is needed for agriculture to ensure a food-secure future for the region and how to build a more resilient agricultural sector across South-East Asia
Grow Asia’s goal is to reach 10 million smallholder farmers by 2020 to improve farm productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability by 20%.
The initiative was established by the World Economic Forum in cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat. It is a unique platform that enables locally led, value chain initiatives to focus on smallholder farmers and environmental sustainability through a high-level, multistakeholder approach. Since its launch in 2015, Grow Asia has supported country-level partnerships in Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar and launched new partnerships in the Philippines and Cambodia. In the past year, 34 new value chain initiatives were launched across all five countries. Grow Asia now engages over 260 partners, an increase from 194 in 2015. The number of smallholder farmers reached rose fivefold to 471,200.
Additionally, the Grow Asia Secretariat was established in Singapore to accelerate innovation and the sharing of best practice via a broad regional network. These achievements were reported in Grow Asia’s first Report on Progress, launched today at the 2016 Grow Asia Forum.
Adi Pramudyo, a young farmer from Indonesia who participated in the Grow Asia Forum, said: “Grow Asia stands apart in its efforts to put the farmer at the heart of the solutions it seeks to find through partnerships. Greater empowerment, innovation and economic prosperity will attract the next generation of farmers and help sustain agriculture.”
“Our progress to date demonstrates the effectiveness of Grow Asia’s unique multistakeholder model in bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to collaborate and drive action on the ground to improve smallholder farming. The commitment of high-level leaders to collective action empowers farmers and instigates innovation and economic prosperity, making a significant contribution to national and regional food security,” said Kavita Prakash-Mani, Executive Director, Grow Asia.