Future of Food Security: Innovating with Alternative Financing and Fintech

By Securities Commission Malaysia, 

The global agriculture landscape is set to change. Demand for food will continue to escalate, as world population – in particular Asia – increases. The supply of food, on the hand, is vulnerable to a myriad of factors, ranging from geopolitical tension, to supply chain disruptions to erratic weather patterns. Amidst this backdrop, there is increasing pressure for the agriculture sector to adopt sustainable practices as nations prepare for a net zero future.

The issue on food security affects all nations, without exception. Malaysia is not spared from this conundrum. As a net food-importing country, Malaysia is highly exposed to global shocks in the food supply-chain. Hence, Malaysia’s agriculture productivity too sees room for improvement.  The agricultural value added per worker in Malaysia was 45 percent of the average among high-income countries[1].

If there is a delay in implementing agricultural transformation, it could pose challenges for the economy to transition from upper middle-income status. Additionally, it may hinder the progress in achieving shared prosperity between rural and urban communities.

Financing is a key pillar towards our agriculture transformation. The reach of traditional financing to small holder farmers and agritech startups in particular remains challenging. In this respect, alternative finance can play a role – by bridging investors to finance the growth of our agriculture sector.

Themed “GROW – Fostering Innovative Finance in Agriculture“, this year’s  SCxSC Fintech Conference aims to explore and harness the role of alternative financing avenues in addressing the financing needs of the agriculture sector.

The SC x SC GROW Fintech conference, held at the Securities Commission Malaysia on 31 May 2023 is an avenue to connect investors, agri-preneurs, agri-tech startups, agri-fintech, and relevant agencies agribusinesses, and ecosystem builders, to network, collaborate and  foster innovative financing solutions  to boost agriculture development.

Notable speakers include: Datuk Azah Hanim binti Ahmad, Deputy Secretary General (Policy) from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM), Mohamad Taufik Mahamad Zakaria, Chief Strategy Officer of Agrobank, the Development Financial Institution which focuses on strengthening the Malaysian agriculture sector, Kayse Foo from Khazanah Nasional, the sovereign wealth fund for Malaysia; and Ruslena Ramli and Navin Sinnathamby from Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) which leads the Malaysia’s digital economy.

SC X SC GROW’s lineup of international speakers include Kheedhej Anansiriprapha from Thai General Insurance Association, one of the largest agriculture insurance scheme in ASEAN; Yohanes Sugihtononugroho from Crowde, a niche agriculture focused peer to peer (P2P) lending platform in Indonesia and Ainu Rofiq from Koltiva, a global tech company that digitizes global supply chains end-to-end using triple-tech (agritech, fintech, and climatech).

They will share their insights on the trends, challenges and opportunities in agriculture financing.

The afternoon session consists of three breakout sessions. The first session will showcase high growth agribusinesses from the Equity Crowdfunding (ECF) and Peer-to-Peer financing deal pipeline and Sunway iLab’s Net Zero Lab. The second session will provide local agribusinesses with insights into various financing options beyond grants and bank loans.

This includes a FinTank Forum which is specially curated to shape a multi-stakeholder conversation around revolutionising agri-finance as we embrace the new era of agriculture. This breakout session will showcase fintech that cater to the needs of agribusinesses, in areas such as financing, insurance and budgeting. There will be a total of six demos, including three foreign Fintech players from Indonesia and Kenya.

[1] World Bank report on Agricultural Transformation and Inclusive Growth: The Malaysian Experience.

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