Why Graft and Why Now?
With the epic expansion and globalisation of world food production over the past century, we are facing unprecedented opportunity as well as critical challenges. Agriculture has always relied on continual innovation and adaptation. The Green Revolution, which brought high-yield rice varieties to developing countries on the brink of famine, was a breakthrough for mass food production. But the challenge of ensuring sustainable food production is now more complex.
We are beginning to realise that a truly sustainable future also prioritises reducing economic inequality, limiting environmental impacts, improving human health, cutting carbon emissions and building climate-resilience into farming business models and systems.
Demand for agricultural products, particularly in Asia with its growing middle class and rising expectations around the quality and diversity of food, will require farmers to deploy and exchange expertise on the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable farming practices. This region has growing populations, thriving trade networks and some of the largest agricultural producers in the world, a fantastic test-bed for the next wave of AgTech breakthroughs.
Bridging the gap between industry and solution-providers
Right now, for industries facing the complex challenges of modern agriculture, there could be many well-matched solutions out there - hidden offshore or in other sectors. Without adequate opportunities for testing and validation, and the grassroots networks needed to link industry and startups, these potentially game-changing partnerships remain stones unturned. A new phase of cross-border collaboration and technology transfer is needed to leverage the possibilities.
Graft exists to celebrate, facilitate and drive this crucial AgTech exchange - focusing on the booming Asia Pacific and Indo Pacific regions. We want to ensure the available test-beds for tackling shared challenges in these countries are fully explored. By increasing the visibility of achievements as well as available solutions in neighbouring countries, Graft aims to boost engagement between industry and innovators beyond national borders and move the needle forward on shaping sustainable future food systems.
The Graft Aus-India AgTech Challenge - Applications Open
An initiative of Australia and Singapore-based challenge led innovation company Beanstalk AgTech, the Graft platform is a highly-selective challenge that stimulates cross-border collaboration to draw out transformative solutions to the mega challenges we face. The inaugural Graft exchange program, which is being delivered with one of India’s leading accelerators T-Hub based in Hyderabad, kicks off this October. The Graft Aus-India AgTech Challenge is seeking climate-smart solutions that will help ensure the long-term profitability and sustainability of the critical rain-fed grains industries in these countries.
Calling the best and brightest solutions to support grains farmers
Cross-border collaboration is needed to mitigate climate risk and climate realities facing Indian and Australian grains farmers, such as drought, unpredictable weather, and unfamiliar pests and crop diseases. In Australia’s broadacre rain-fed grain industry, prolonged drought has contributed to a 27 % drop in yield potential. For companies in India looking to grow and take on a new challenge area, Australia’s diverse broadacre grains sector is a fantastic test-bed for innovations that could be broadly applied.
The Australian AgTech sector brings a wealth of experience and leadership across diverse weather systems. They could hold the key to helping India’s small-hold farmers, who are dealing with economic setbacks from erratic monsoons, access the best-available techniques, technologies and climate agri-risk business models.
Graft is eyeing proven and out-of-the-box solutions from AgTech as well as the broader startup and innovation communities in these countries. Often game-changing technological breakthroughs can be found in unexpected places - so we’re looking for ideas from across the innovation spectrum. Areas our panel will be interested in are solutions related to water-use, soil health, stubble management, farmer-education and alternative income streams.
By casting the net wide in the callout for possible solutions, and encouraging participants to think beyond national and disciplinary borders (technology sectors), Graft’s innovation-challenge approach is the perfect fuel for finding solutions to complex problems.
Solid backing from industry for Graft
What makes Graft an exciting and potentially high-impact platform is the broad backing and on-the-ground support it has from industry. We are very thankful for the involvement of our key knowledge partners and sponsors and Graft would not exist without them. We are looking forward to working closely with them to connect promising startups and solutions with industry.
The Graft Challenge connects cross-border AgTech solutions with local industry to grow new possibilities out of shared challenges.