Multi-stakeholder platform Grow Asia, which focuses on building more resilient and sustainable food systems, has unveiled its largest impact fund, the GrowBeyond Fund, which includes a first-of-its-kind public-private blended financing model targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and designed to leverage up to US$1 billion of climate finance.
The new fund will unlock inclusive finance for small agri-businesses over the next 10 years, targeting the 70-plus million SMEs in Southeast Asia that lie at the forefront of the climate crisis. With the agri-food industry producing more than 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Grow Asia, the fund will prioritize investments in climate-smart agriculture, regenerative practices and innovative technologies, addressing the pressing climate challenges faced by farmers and rural communities in the region.
The fund is the most innovative and ambitious of the platform’s public-private impact funds and includes the Asean Sustainable Agriculture Loan Facility, which will address the current fragmentation of climate finance.
By consolidating strategic investments from governments, financial institutions, private investors, fintech/agritech firms and technical assistance providers, the company says it will deliver a comprehensive suite of crop-specific financial and market services that are required for SMEs to scale their businesses and adopt regenerative practices.
Over the next 10 years, the fund aims to support over 200,000 farmers in accessing suitable financial products and technical assistance. Through these investments, it is estimated that each farm will see an increase in productivity of between 20% and 30%, and a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30%.
With climate change increasingly threatening agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods in Southeast Asia, the urgency to act has never been greater.
“Our most ambitious impact fund to date reflects our ongoing commitment to transforming Southeast Asia’s food systems and addresses climate challenges through public-private partnership,” shares Beverley Postma, the platform’s executive director. “By investing in resilient farming practices, we can empower farmers to make the transition they need to safeguard global food systems against the impacts of climate change.”