The latest agritech trends help farmers and consumers save the environment while creating business opportunities that not only yield high-impact results but also benefit the environment. The following are a series of agritech startups in Southeast Asia that benefit the environment, one crop at a time.
Bambooloo was established in 2016 by Lara Amoroso to create and sell next-gen sustainable products. The brand was then acquired in 2018 and placed under the umbrella of The Nurturing Co – a startup focused on creating sustainable consumer products, the company produces 0% consumer plastic products like toilet rolls, sanitisers, kitchen rolls, face masks, and more, made from eco-friendly bamboo.
We look at how this venture building is bring the Filipino agritech industry to the fore
Bambooloo and The Nurturing Co have recently made headlines thanks to a multinational tech company called Razer. As a part of the gaming company’s 10-year sustainability goals program, the Razer team has created a $50 million USD fund to invest in sustainable products, with The Nurturing Co being one of the first recipients of funding.
Bambooloo’s eco-initiatives so far have been far-reaching. The company ranked #1 in the Social Impact Category at the Asian Startup Awards in 2020 and won the Best Social Enterprise Award at the Sustainable Business Awards in 2019.
People around the world need pallets to stack and ship countless products. In Asia alone, 1.7 billion pallets are used, with most of the wood being imported from Canada and New Zealand. CocoPallet fights deforestation around the world by being the first company to create pallets made entirely out of coconut waste. These pallets are made out of 100% coconut husks. This exempts them from ISPM15 regulations, the international standard for wooden materials that must be taken into consideration to prevent the spread of diseases and insects. The pallets are flame-retardant, nestable and moisture resistant.
Since Southeast Asia is home to millions of coconut trees, Dutch entrepreneur and Cocopallet founder Michiel Vos has set up the first CocoPallets joint venture factory in the Philippines. He seeks to create a circular business model that will benefit the farmers of the region and save hundreds of millions of trees in the process.
Not all of our food supplies come from country farms. The field of hydroponics focuses on growing plants without soil and could just be the way forward for sustainable farming in the future. The agricultural method is perfect for growing produce in a small space — something that comes in handy in the city. Malaysian startup Cityfarm promotes sustainable urban food production by offering people the tools and training to grow their product anywhere.
Founded in 2016, Cityfarm operates under the premise that by 2050, the world population will reach 9.6 billion people. Nearly three-quarters will live in cities and at least 70% more food will be required to feed them, but 80% of all arable land is already taken. As such, the need to create urban crops will be on the rise. Cityfarm not only provides the equipment, but they also offer courses on city farming to individuals, as well as families and schools.
Chilibeli is an eCommerce platform for produce that promotes social opportunities amongst farmers and also helps empower Indonesian women through outreach partner programs.
The premise of the application is that it fosters commerce between the platform’s users, eliminating middlemen and creating valuable connections between producers and consumers. Users of the app can buy food in large quantities and sell their produce to fellow users.
The company secured $10 million USD in a Series A round backed by the likes of Lightspeed Venture Partners, Alto Partners, Golden Gate Ventures, Kinesys Group, and Sequoia Capital.
Finally, Agribuddy is a company based in Hong Kong and Cambodia. Founded by Japanese businessman Kengo Kitaura in 2015 when during his quest for the knowledge of farmers in the region, he discovered that farmers could benefit from a “social network” that allows them to share insights and information.
With this app, farmers can post about the plants they’re growing and ask questions to fellow farmers. The app has even established a credit scoring system that connects financial institutions to rural credit customers. With its pilot program, Agribuddy has been able to provide 1,973 farmers with $254,478 USD of credit.
Agritech startups in Southeast Asia are now positively affecting our world. Be it by providing sustainable consumer products, making the import/export industry friendlier towards the environment, promoting urban farming, empowering local sellers, or educating farmers, these five companies are champions of sustainability. Their success signals a new era of booming social entrepreneurship in the region.