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Grow Asia Welcomes Visa as Business Council Co-Chair

Woman farmer using digital tool on farm

4th December 2023 - Singapore – Visa has been elected as the incoming Co-Chair of the prestigious Grow Asia Business Council. Appointed by a ballot of peers at the Annual General Meeting held on 11th September 2023, Visa is set to support Grow Asia and its partners in leveraging digital financial solutions and financial inclusion for smallholder farmers to drive livelihood and climate outcomes.

The Business Council is led by two elected Co-Chairs, one representing a multinational company, and one a regional company. Visa will join the incumbent co-chair, East-West Seed, which stands among the world’s largest vegetable seed companies, serving 23 million smallholder farmers worldwide.

The Grow Asia Business Council is a high-level advisory body that brings together company leaders to help shape Grow Asia’s partnerships to develop a robust and market-driven approach, and to lead by example through investing in viable projects on the ground. Visa's appointment as co-chair to the Grow Asia Business Council is poised to amplify these efforts, bringing its global expertise in digital financial services to shape country-specific strategies that foster a sustainable and inclusive agri-food sector.

“We are pleased to welcome Visa as the incoming Co-Chair of our Business Council,” said Beverley Postma, Executive Director - Grow Asia. “Visa’s appointment is timely and significant as we confront the biggest challenge to climate transition in Asia – how to channel affordable finance to the farmgate. Over 45% of agri-finance needs remain unmet in the region, and rural SMEs suffer a lack of access to working capital, which hampers their ability to increase productivity and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Visa's vast experience in digital finance will greatly contribute to our collective mission of empowering smallholder farmers, governments, and agri-food enterprises, through the promotion of financial inclusion, while driving the adoption of climate-resilient practices, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the region's food systems."

Financial inclusion is a cornerstone for prosperity in Southeast Asia, where small and medium-sized businesses contribute to 44.8% of the region's GDP. Despite the critical challenges posed by climate change and the availability of innovative scalable solutions, the region’s adoption of climate-resilient practices is hindered by economic and accessibility barriers. Digitalization and financial inclusion of smallholder farmers and rural businesses can bridge this economic gap and build resilient livelihoods. As a council member and co-chair, Visa enhances the knowledge and capacity of Grow Asia’s programs to integrate digital financial solutions, promoting financial inclusion for smallholder farmers and addressing livelihood challenges in its six country chapters, spanning Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Viet Nam.

“This engagement marks a significant step forward in our mission to uplift everyone, everywhere through digital financial inclusion. Financial inclusion for smallholder farmers is at the heart of sustainable development in Southeast Asia, and by collaborating closely with Grow Asia and other members of Grow Asia’s Advisory Councils, we aim to unlock new opportunities for digital finance to drive climate resilience in the agri-food sector,” said Patsian Low, Vice President, Inclusive Impact & Sustainability for Asia Pacific - Visa.

Visa’s commitment to leveraging digital financial inclusion to drive sustainable growth in Asia extends beyond its co-chair role, with significant strategic investments into Grow Asia's flagship impact funds. These funds include GrowVentures which focuses on Agri-Food Innovation; GrowHer on Women’s Economic Empowerment; GrowRight on Responsible Investing; and GrowBeyond on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.

The Grow Asia Business Council sits alongside Grow Asia’s Partners’ Advisory Council which includes government agencies, non-profit entities, philanthropies, and non-government organizations representing the range of agriculture-based societal and environmental issues facing the region.


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