Digitalizing farm to table supply chains in Asia

Digitalizing farm to table supply chains in Asia

October 25, 2021    

On-demand transport services and insurtech 

Whether as a customer or a business, digital platforms that connect people and services are ubiquitous today. The adoption of technology in food logistics has presented the opportunity to transform agricultural and food systems with tools that are cheaper and quicker to implement. App-based logistics and transport systems have the potential to improve efficiency and information flows within and across supply chains. These digital platforms also serve as points of aggregation and are critical for effective, coordinated, and productive supply chains.   

Food supply chains in Asia 

It is estimated that by 2030, Asia will be home to almost half of the global population. Asia’s food supply chains are going to face higher pressures in the next decade due to this high urbanisation and growing populations. The prevalence in the region of smallholder farmers, fragmented supply chains, an absence of scale economies, and global warming adds to the challenges that an agricultural sector with already stretched and broken supply chains must tackle.   

Meeting the food supply needs in Asia will require efficient and resilient food supply chains that are highly productive and effective at getting produce to consumers. Food logistics are therefore a vital element of the food supply chain and are crucial in fulfilling consumer demands by providing the right product at low cost, with on-time delivery and limited food waste.  

In this project, we explore the opportunities for digital solutions to actively link farmers, aggregation points, warehouses, transportation companies, wholesalers, retailers, insurers and consumers. The report unpacks the potential of on-demand platforms and explores the benefits of distributing resilience solutions for better risk management through food logistic platforms in Asia with a particular focus on Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Philippines and Vietnam, this project considers the critical enablers for digital platforms to develop and scale across developing economies.

Digital solutions for logistic sector development and food supply chains   

Not enough attention is being focused on the start of the value chain. In most of Asia, first mile logistics, or getting produce from farms to the next step in the process, have experienced far less innovation and development than last mile logistics. The opportunity in the development of first mile logistics is far greater and pervasive as it focuses on the heart of established legacy sectors and addresses traditional challenges.  

Despite the strong rationale for digital solutions, the lack of widespread development and success highlights the significant challenges facing the development of the sector across the region. 

The report identifies the current state of logistics in Asia and how digital platforms are disrupting the sector. It also shows how the critical enablers identified – infrastructure and technology, aggregation points, consumer adoption, access to finance, and risk management – can unlock the potential of platforms and app-based solutions and insurtech.  

The report provides insight to the importance of network effects and highlights how a wide range of actors (development partners, private sector, regulators) can support the ecosystems built around these platforms and considers emerging solutions from platform developers, existing digital platforms, insurance services providers and financial regulators to identify opportunities within their contexts. 

View the report Size 2.47 MB

If you would like to find out more about the enablers to unlock the opportunities for different actors in the logistics sector, increasing the resilience of MSMEs in the food supply chain, or the implications for policymakers and development partners, please contact Jeremy Gray.    

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