FIELDS OF EXPERTISE
Grow Asia is a unique multi-stakeholder partnership platform that brings together farmer organizations, governments, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders in Southeast Asia to lift the productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of smallholder agriculture in the region.
An Entity Associated with ASEAN, the Grow Asia network comprises the regional Secretariat in Singapore, 6 country partnerships (in-country chapters) and 44 working groups.
-At the regional level, the Grow Asia Secretariat supports the country partnerships, plays a coordinating role in sharing learnings across the region, promoting responsible investment and digital technologies for smallholder agriculture, and engages in regional policy dialogue.
-At the national level, working groups are involved in direct interventions and sectoral coordination on policy, national roadmaps, financing, market issues, and other shared challenges for their industry.
Type of cooperation
Policy dialogue, Knowledge exchange, Capacity building
Current Cooperating countries
Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei
Potential Cooperating Countries
Africa, India, and Latin America through the Food Action Alliance
South-South and Triangular Cooperation
Summary of Projects and Achievements
1. Strengthening Country Partnerships
The Country Partnerships were established as national platforms for stakeholders to align, set priorities, co-invest and collaborate in the agricultural sector. The Grow Asia Regional Secretariat in Singapore is managing and guiding the in-country staff to deliver both administrative and technical expertise to their partners as well as take on a range of activities devolved from Grow Asia. These include Working Group management and facilitation, partnership brokering, results collection, government engagement, policy dialogues, fee collection, event delivery, and communications. Operating the Country Partnerships requires balancing between results delivery while at the same time creating a sense of ownership, local commitment, responsibility and accountability amongst the country partners.
2. Regional Coordination
As an Entity Associated with ASEAN, Grow Asia plays an important role in the region, particularly in facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable agriculture development. The Regional Secretariat are coordinating regional workstreams with the potential to increase the scale of Grow Asia networks’ impact. These workstreams are: sharing learnings across Country Partnerships (especially those that support the Working Groups in becoming more effective), promoting responsible investment, leveraging digital technologies, and engaging in regional policy dialogue with the ASEAN Secretariat.
Grow Asia also mobilizes senior leaders in the region through high profile regional events such as the Grow Asia Forum and the World Economic Forum on ASEAN Summit. These platforms rally leadership commitment in support of the ASEAN food security agenda, as well as inspiring partnership opportunities and development of innovative solutions.
3. Knowledge Sharing
Grow Asia has a strong commitment to learning and knowledge-sharing. This agenda covers the development and exchange of both fact- and experience-based knowledge emerging from the network. By highlighting successes and sharing learnings, Grow Asia hopes to catalyze greater impact to improve smallholder livelihoods.
Grow Asia’s case studies and reports offer insight and learnings from partners and projects in the network:
Case Studies: www.growasia.org/case-studies
The Grow Asia Exchange is an online knowledge repository and learning hub with over 200+ case studies, policy papers, and landscape studies, categorized by country, crop, and theme.
Grow Asia produced three new video series in 2020, which were watched over 94,000 times:
Major SSTC Projects
ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment on Food, Agriculture, and Forestry
In 2018, the ASEAN Secretariat requested Grow Asia’s support in developing the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment on Food, Agriculture, and Forestry (ASEAN RAI). The ASEAN RAI was formally adopted by the ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry in October 2018.
Grow Asia is now working to implement Phase 1 (2020-2022) of the 10-year Action Plan for the ASEAN RAI. The Action Plan aims to strengthen national and regional legal and policy frameworks, processes, practices, and knowledge to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Action Plan focuses on two core areas: (1) improving policy and legal frameworks through technical assistance; and (2) engaging private investors (SMEs, domestic, and global companies) to adopt and apply the ASEAN RAI. Implementation partners include: the Institute for International Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with funding from SDC.
Learn more: www.aseanraiguidelines.org
ASEAN Action Plan on Fall Armyworm Control
The fall armyworm (FAW) was first reported in Southeast Asia in late 2018 but has now spread across the region. The pest can cause major damage, particularly to maize, with estimates indicating an annual USD 884 million cost to the region. In 2019, ASEAN supported the development of a regionally coordinated response, and requested that Grow Asia, with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Vietnamese Government, develop a regional FAW framework.
Grow Asia developed the ASEAN Action Plan on Fall Armyworm Control, which sets the goals, objectives, and work programs to manage the pest. The ASEAN FAW Action Innovation and Knowledge Hub was launched as an online meeting place for those interested in joining efforts to control FAW and improve integrated pest management in the region. Grow Asia ran a series of successful webinars and workshops on FAW control, including a Technical Workshop Series on biocontrol in partnership with CABI, IPM Innovation Lab, Biorationale, the International Rice Research Institute, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science.
Grow Asia’s conversations with agriculture leaders in Southeast Asia have revealed that they believe digital technologies – such as tools for enabling access to financing, digital marketplaces, or traceability solutions – are set to positively transform the way smallholders interact with agribusiness value chains. These tools have the potential to bring greater efficiency to value chains by significantly lowering transaction costs, while improving farmers’ prosperity.
Grow Asia brings together business leaders, development actors, and policymakers to accelerate the adoption of digital tools across these complementary initiatives:
1) Digital Learning Series
This series provides a regular platform for Grow Asia’s Digital Community of Practice to share learnings and insights on how digital solutions can be developed and scaled up for impact on smallholder farmers. In 2020, Grow Asia ran four virtual events covering the smallholder agritech landscape, reaching farmers using chat, smallholder agri-tech business models, and logistics tech for the agriculture industry. Grow Asia will be running DLS quarterly in 2021.
2) Grow Asia Digital Directory
The directory is a database of close to 70 agricultural digital solutions for smallholder value chains in ASEAN. Digital solutions can transform the sector only if investors, agribusiness, and development actors are aware of the available solutions. This directory fills that gap by providing information on solutions and also contact details so new partnerships can emerge.
3) Reports and Guides
Grow Asia produces comprehensive reports and guides on digital themes for business leaders.
Examples include Driving AgriTech Adoption report that provides insights from Southeast Asia’s farmers on how solution developers, corporates, and the public sector can more effectively engage smallholders through digital tools. Grow Asia also authored a report on Smallholder AgriTech Business Models, which provides an overview of five business models that show the greatest potential to reach smallholder farmers at scale.