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Grow Asia Forum 2022: Letter from our Executive Director

Grow Asia's Executive Director at the Grow Asia Forum 2022. In picture 2, from left to right: Sean de Cleene - Member of the Executive Committee and Head of the Future of Food at the World Economic Forum, Beverley Postma - Executive Director of Grow Asia, H.E. Dr. Koh Poh Koon - Senior Minister of State of the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment of Singapore, and H.E. Dr. Agnes Kalibata - President of AGRA.

The annual Grow Asia Forum enjoys a strong history of bringing together leaders and decision-makers from Asia’s food and agriculture sector to explore collaborative solutions to the region’s most pressing food system challenges. After a two-year pause, we were delighted to revert to our traditional format and convene this long-awaited in-person event in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

When we first started planning the 2022 Grow Asia Forum, we asked ourselves - what does this year’s Forum need to be, and what does it need to do?

Above all, we wanted the event to be a celebration of the power of partnerships and to respond to the urgent need to move from dialogue into action. We sought to provide a physical space that would bring together diverse stakeholders from across the food system to stimulate a day of action-focused conversations between diverse leaders from governments, businesses, and non-profit entities who have had few chances to meet in person over the last two years. We were inspired by the positive energy and feedback from our 171 participants who spanned every segment of the food system and who represented 20 countries.

Our second ‘must have’ was to ensure the Forum is rooted deeply in Grow Asia’s core mission, which is to improve the livelihoods and resilience of the millions of small family businesses who produce more than 80% of our region’s food. We used the power of video to capture these ‘voices from the field’ and positioned them at heart of every panel session. These powerful and popular segments kept our conversations rooted in reality and generated a constant stream of provocative talking points from our delegates.

Our third goal was to stimulate investment into the region’s agri-food sector by creating a new co-funding mechanism to break down silos between public and private sector investments. During the Forum, Grow Asia was delighted to launch four multi-donor impact funds totalling USD 20.2 million, to accelerate sustainable agricultural transformation in Southeast Asia.

Transforming Food Systems through Partnership: Grow Asia's Successes and Way Forward

  • GrowVentures (USD 5.75M) accelerates the adoption of agri-food innovation, placing climate-smart digital solutions into the hands of farmers. Learn more.

  • GrowHer (USD 5.6M) amplifies the business case for women’s economic empowerment, incentivizing public and private investment into actions, practices, and policies that accelerate diversity and inclusion. Learn more.

  • GrowRight (USD 6.6M) supports accredited training and investor matching initiatives that promote more responsible investing and green finance mechanisms in Southeast Asia’s agri-food sector. Learn more.

  • GrowBeyond (USD 2.2M) supports the development of a center of excellence to consolidate research and deploy training at scale to strengthen climate change adaptation and resilience. Learn more.

These four impact funds will ensure that public investments are channeled into programs with long-term commercial impact for Southeast Asia’s rural enterprises, while private investments are channelled into programs that yield the most positive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) outcomes.

Our goal is not to compete with or dilute the traditional equity-based or debt investment funds for climate and nature, nor to dilute the pool of humanitarian aid for social inclusion. But to make our traditional investments work harder by using existing bilateral grants from Grow Asia’s international development donors like Australia, Canada, Japan, and Korea and blend them with matching investments from philanthropic and corporate ESG funds from companies like Cargill, Visa, and Corteva Agriscience.

In the months to come, we look forward to working with our network of 640+ partner organizations to co-design, pilot, and scale solutions - using these innovative funds - that together will allow us to build a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food system in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Beverley Postma

Executive Director

Grow Asia

Read the complete Grow Asia Forum 2022 Summary Report here.

Partner with us

Grow Asia’s mission of building more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food systems in Southeast Asia necessitates collaboration at all levels - from field to boardroom, upstream and downstream, with leaders and experts spanning every sector and value chain. We aim to move quickly beyond dialogue into collaborative action and mobilize investments through one of the four Impact Funds that were launched at the Grow Asia Forum. If you see opportunities to collaborate with us, or with one of our 600+ partners, please do get in touch at

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