“Advancing Agtech in Latin America and the Caribbean through Innovation and Policy”.
Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC) is an emerging and important region for agriculture, particularly for the advancement of regenerative and sustainable agrifood systems that must feed our growing population. But there are important issues in food and agriculture in the LAC region that must be overcome, such as capturing value to upstream stakeholders (farmers, ranchers, growers, etc.) and creating agrifood systems that minimize their environmental footprint.
Climate change also emerges as a powerful driver affecting the evolution of agriculture and food systems in the region. Agriculture in LAC is highly vulnerable to climate change, as a result of temperatures rising and changing patterns of precipitation levels. By the mid-21st century climate change is also projected to reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources in most dry subtropical regions. Climate change is therefore one of the key issues the region must overcome in order to become less carbon intensive and more resilient to its impacts.
With that overarching goal in mind, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Yield Lab Institute have partnered with the aim of identifying AgTech Startups, with a scalable business model, that can tackle some of the most pressing issues of climate change in agri-food systems in the LAC region with the launch of the Sustainable Agtech Challenge and Policy Assessment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity to re-align our productive systems with nature and challenges us to rethink the systems that underpin the economy. There are growing calls for a green recovery and for using the crisis as an opportunity to build more inclusive, resilient and low-carbon circular economies. This challenge thus supports innovations and startups that have products, services and/or technologies aimed at creating the more regenerative, sustainable and inclusive agrifood systems our economy needs.
We invite global startups, teams or innovators to apply before July 7th. Applicants must have a developed product, service or business model with traction, customers and markets. This challenge is not intended to support research projects or teams but rather support innovations that have traction (customers, revenue, etc.) and potential to scale and commercialize.
We are looking for innovations (products, services, etc.) along the full value chain in the following 3 verticals:
- Specialty crops (e.g. cherry, avocado, citrus, grapes, etc.)
- Row crops (e.g. corn, wheat, sugar cane, soybean)
- Proteins (beef, poultry, pork and dairy including alternative proteins)
The selected finalists will have the benefit of working with UNEP, the Yield Lab Institute (YLI), the Yield Lab LATAM (YLL), Universidad de Austral of Rosario, IDB Lab, Fontagro, GO4SDGs initiative and our global network of business, technical and policy stakeholders in agriculture and agtech. The 3-5 selected applicants will get the following:
- Mentorship, entrepreneurial networking opportunities and resources to help advance their ideas, innovations in the areas of business, technical, financial and environmental impact.
- The opportunity to compete for prizes and awards, e.g. in-kind services, etc., to help scale, grow and commercialize their ideas and innovations.
Because addressing these important agrifood issues requires a holistic approach, we are launching a bolt-on policy assessment. The policy assessment is aimed at identifying key issues and obstacles, with respect to public policy, for agtech startups and ecosystems, with a purpose of sustainability, to thrive and succeed in the LAC region. The policy assessment will be a white paper that gathers data from the applicants and experts, formulates hypotheses and ultimately makes policy recommendations to policymakers in the region and stakeholders supporting agtech startups, facilitating innovation ecosystems and promoting sustainability in the LAC region.
The Yield Lab Institute
The Yield Lab Institute is the non-profit arm of the Yield Lab, a global federation of funds that invest in agtech startups. The Yield Lab Institute supports agtech startups, innovators, and ecosystems around the world through non-profit initiatives and levers. Those levers include open innovation challenges, ecosystem assessments, technical papers and studies, and much more. Visit their website for more information about the Yield Lab Institute.
United Nations Environmental Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. For more information about UNEP, please visit their site.