Calling on global Foodtech startups to revolutionize Agri-Food in Northwest Cambodia

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ICONE and Eatable Adventures uncover three key opportunities of growth in the country: enhancing the agrifood value chain, improving agrifood commercial and business exchanges, and introducing high-value crops.

Foodtech startups with innovative technology seeking to participate in a globally impactful project can apply by now to the 3 Open Challenges to boost agri-food innovation and contribute to the country’s economic progress.

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Madrid, October 25th, 2023ICONE, a GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) project that promotes sustainable and innovative business practices in Cambodia, and Eatable Adventures, one of the world’s leading Foodtech accelerators, have joined forces to drive innovation in the agri-food sector in the northwest of the country.

The project aims to integrate sustainability and develop innovative solutions to boost local agri-food productivity, furthering the country’s economic progress. In the initial phase of the two-year program, a thorough analysis of the region’s agri-food industry was conducted to identify key opportunities for enhancing local businesses’ productivity and contributing to Cambodia’s economic growth.

Only 10% to 13% of local agricultural production undergoes processing.

According to the report jointly developed by GIZ and Eatable Adventures titled ‘Food Innovation and Agro-Processing Sector in North-Western Cambodia, agriculture stands as one of the foremost economic pillars of the country, contributing around 22% to its gross domestic product (GDP) and encompassing 30% of the nation’s total employment. Agricultural production dominates the primary sector, making up 60% of the sector’s GDP contribution, followed by fishing and livestock farming.

However, only 10% to 13% of agricultural production undergoes processing, leading to most exported products being in raw form. Additionally, a significant portion of these products undergo value-added products in Thailand and Vietnam before being exported back to Cambodia. Therefore, there is a pressing need for the country to focus on developing its processing and value-added capabilities in the agricultural sector to enhance its economic growth and global competitiveness.

Throughout the in-depth analysis conducted by ICONE and Eatable Adventures, three key growth areas have been identified to drive innovative technological solutions aimed at enhancing production processes in the agri-food sector and contributing to its growth and competitiveness.

Opportunity for startups: 3 Open Challenges for the global FoodTech ecosystem

Among the main challenges identified in the food tech sector, ICONE and Eatable Adventures have identified three key opportunities for global Foodtech startups to pioneer innovative solutions, fostering increased local agri-food productivity and driving economic growth in the region:

  1. Transforming Tropical Fruit Production in Cambodia: The challenge aims to discover new solutions for enhancing the storage, delivery, and quality assurance of tropical fruits, particularly mangos and bananas. The goal is to improve current agricultural production practices and unlock new international market opportunities. The challenge looks for shelf-life extension technologies, innovative solutions in the tropical fruits production and processing, as well as B2B Marketplaces for agricultural products.
  2. Boosting agri-food global business relations in Cambodia:  The challenge focuses on identifying new methodologies to promote trade exchanges and strengthening relations between producers, the industry, and the global market. The objective is to enhance Cambodia’s competitiveness within the agri-food sector. Potential solutions encompass  B2B global marketplaces, innovative traceability technologies, and digital innovations that facilitate connections between farmers, the industry, and buyers
  3. Expanding Cambodia’s portfolio of premium products: this area of interest concentrates on the introduction of high-value-added products achieved through advanced food processing techniques and specialized cultivation of high-value crops, such as vanilla. The challenge seeks new cultivation and processing techniques and new high-value crops cultivation and processing methods.

FoodTech startups with innovative technology looking to participate in a globally impactful project can seize this opportunity by submitting their applications.

About GIZ

In the northwest of Cambodia, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements a program to improve the competitiveness of national enterprises (ICONE). In order to press ahead with its modernisation and diversification plans, Cambodia aims to open up new business sectors, including food production, agricultural processing, and light industry. The ICONE program strategically supports enterprises in the northwest of Cambodia to enhance their productivity, efficiency, and capacity to innovate.  

About Eatable Adventures

Eatable Adventures is one of the most relevant food-tech accelerators in Europe and Latam with more than 36 corporate programs launched, a deal flow of 2,200 global food-tech startups each year and operations in four continents. Eatable Adventures detects, promotes and invests in the most disruptive startups that promise a relevant impact on the agri-food value chain, by developing and implementing successful collaboration models with leading companies in the food industry, generating innovation opportunities at high speed.