• Grahame Dixie, Executive Director, Grow Asia

A year in review

In the interests of clarity, we generally divide Grow Asia’s activities into two work streams: Track One, where the focus is on the individual Country Partnerships, and; Track 2, which is the work we do at the regional level on promoting cross-learning, policy and digital.

In 2019, we have seen significant progress on the Country Partnership (CP) level – Track One. The number of farmers reached by the Grow Asia network has crossed the 1 million mark, and an estimated 750,000 are actively involved in our partners’ projects. We now also have eight independent case studies on the more mature projects in the Grow Asia network, which not only provide insights on building successful, scalable projects, but reveal that – collectively – these interventions have changed the behavior of over 300,000 farmers and generated an estimated income increase of USD 100 million per annum.

2019 has also seen the launch of our sixth Country Partnership, Grow PNG, which – with support from the Australian government – now has an operational plan, team and office in place.

More broadly, we have seen clear development across the region in our Country Partnerships’ institutional arrangements and internal modes of operating, with stronger systems now in place to support their partners, Working Groups, and journey towards autonomy and financial self-reliance.

Now we turn to Track Two, our regional program.

Last year, we took the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry through a public consultation and their eventual adoption by the council of ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF). This year we laid the foundation for the Guideline’s roll out across the region, with an action plan adopted by the ASEAN Member States and strong expressions of funding interest from the Swiss and Japanese governments.

As 2019 draws to a close, so does the first phase of Grow Asia’s digital program. The last year has seen:

  • Three hackathons organized in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand;

  • An Accelerator program mentoring seven promising founders of digital solutions;

  • Continuation of the in-person and webinar-based Digital Learning Series, covering six critically important topics;

  • Production of a number of learning videos addressing key issues and topics of interest in the space (reaching over 30,000 people);

  • Three-day Human (Farmer) Centred Design training in Indonesia where corporates and start-ups engage with and learn the pain-points of farmers;

  • Launch of a Digital Directory with 64 (and growing) emerging digital solutions for agriculture in Southeast Asia.

The outcome of this highly successful and innovative program has been the provision of a grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to develop a broader program to bring the region’s smallholders and agribusinesses into closer, more inclusive partnership.

I sincerely hope you find this update valuable and am always keen to hear feedback from our partners on our work and future plans grahame@growasia.org or to anyone on the team at info@growasia.org. More information on Grow Asia's achievements this year can be found in the Report on Progress 2019.

We look forward to sharing more on our progress and achievements in 2020.

On behalf of the Grow Asia team, I send you my warmest wishes for the holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Best Regards,

Grahame Dixie

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