Opportunities for European Agritech in Southeast Asia's Livestock Industry
Grow Asia recently co-hosted a roundtable discussion with Enterprise Ireland and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) titled "The Future of Farming - Opportunities for Irish Agritech in Southeast Asia". During this session, our Executive Director (Grahame Dixie), ILRI's Regional Representative from East and Southeast Asia (Dr. Fred Unger) and ILRI Animal and Human Health Program Co-Leader (Dr. Hung Nguyen-Viet) shared their insights on ASEAN’s evolving agri/animal health landscape. The session centered around providing Irish agritech companies with the know-how on how to navigate the region’s diverse markets, especially given the complexities of COVID-19.
Key takeaways from the session included:
The size of the opportunity must be understood - there are over 600 million people and more than 70 million small family farms across ASEAN. The region’s diverse markets include some of the world’s largest agricultural exporters such as Thailand and Vietnam, as well as innovative centers of research and development such as Singapore. However, there are some glaring inefficiencies which are opportunities and are up for grabs for willing entrepreneurs. Increases in mechanization, precision farming, labor solutions and more sophisticated production processes are in demand.
COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the existing food system, weaknesses in rural logistics (1st mile connectivity), cashflow (in an increasingly cash less economy) and the need to strengthen digital infrastructure.
Livestock is an important sector for the Southeast Asian region and foresight work shows that smallholder livestock persist in next decades. Key issues of livestock include feeds, diseases, food safety and practical solutions can address health and food safety concerns.
ASEAN is a mosaic of different nations with different types of opportunities. If you have decide to expand to the region, before deciding on which country to target, it is important to understand where you have an advantage. Pre-existing network or clientele, will help make the market entry a lot smoother.
Like every other region, an entry to ASEAN too requires entrepreneurs to build relationships and partnerships. What is key in the ASEAN region, is the dynamic local businesses owned by local families that have deep rooted networks and strong leverage. Entrepreneurs should spend time to understand which type of partners best suit their go to market strategy and showcase the value your innovation will add to them.