Innovative Solutions for a Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Food System - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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The impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security are becoming increasingly evident. From crop failures due to extreme weather events to rising food prices impacting vulnerable populations, there is an urgent need to transform our food systems to be more sustainable and resilient.

At CLIMAFIX Summit 2023, a panel discussion brought together key stakeholders – policymakers, investors, and agri-entrepreneurs – to explore innovative solutions being developed to decarbonize the agriculture sector and mitigate its environmental impacts.

Moderator Deepak Srivastava, Chief Conservator of Forests in Tamil Nadu, opened the session by underlining agriculture’s significant contribution of 17-20% to global greenhouse gas emissions. He emphasized that decarbonization must be a “super goal” this decade, aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on achieving zero hunger, sustainable production, climate action, and land restoration.

With the world’s population projected to increase, Deepak warned that a landmass equal to Russia might be needed to meet future food demand by 2050 if unsustainable practices continue. Innovation, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and adoption of green technologies are critical to control emissions, manage resources effectively, and transform food systems.

Investor Perspectives on Sustainable Food Tech 

Saksham Mittal from Avaana Capital highlighted their focus on investing in climate-tech solutions across three areas – sustainable food, decarbonization of supply chains, and energy transition. On the food front, Avaana has invested in Eeki Foods which uses advanced growth chambers to grow fruits and vegetables with minimal resources in any region, even arid areas. Their affordable production model can make basic produce accessible without overpricing.

Himansu Varghese from Inflexor Ventures spoke about their investment in BioPrime Agri Solutions, a leader in plant-based crop additives that enhance resilience by changing soil microbiomes. BioPrime’s supplements boost yields without synthetic chemicals, reducing input costs for farmers. An integrated platform also identifies new beneficial crop molecules.

Promoting Regenerative Agriculture 

Chandan Raghothama from Akshayakalpa Organic farms highlighted their efforts in promoting regenerative agriculture practices like cover cropping and no-till farming among over 1,300 farmers in South India. By maintaining soil cover throughout the year with dual crops, they have demonstrated enhanced carbon sequestration while providing economic incentives through techniques like intercropping. The long-term vision is to create a market for “regenerative foods” grown using these climate-smart methods.

Credible Monitoring of Nature-Based Solutions 

Srivatsa Sreenivasarao, Co-founder and CEO of TraceX Technologies, highlighted their digital monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) platform that enhances credibility and scaling of nature-based climate solutions like agroforestry, reforestation and regenerative agriculture projects.

TraceX’s blockchain-powered enterprise solution enables reliable end-to-end data tracking right from establishing baselines to continuous monitoring of relevant KPIs over years. This data credibility addresses the “trust deficit” that has hindered investment in such nature-based projects so far. TraceX already works with over 35 clients globally across food value chains like coffee, spices and consumer brands committed to sustainability.

Transforming Agri Supply Chains

Aswath Ganesh from agri-supply chain startup WayCool Foods outlined their efforts to minimize environmental impacts across sourcing, operations and last-mile distribution while working with 200,000 farmers in India.

At the sourcing stage, WayCool’s farmer engagement arm ‘OutGrow’ handholding 10,000 farmers has shown impressive results from interventions like cover cropping and mulching, reducing farmers’ cultivation costs by 5-30% while increasing yields by 12% and incomes by 19%.

From sustainable production technologies to regenerative farming practices, and digital monitoring platforms to supply chain transformations – a multi-pronged approach is emerging to tackle the climate crisis.

However, as emphasized by the speakers, the long-term success and wide-scale adoption of these solutions hinges on making them economically viable and incentive-aligned for all stakeholders, especially small and marginal farmers. Creating conducive policies, facilitating access to finance, and fostering consumer demand for climate-smart foods will be crucial.

Collaboration among farmers, agri-enterprises, investors, researchers and policymakers will be key to accelerating these innovations and realizing the ultimate goal of a sustainable, resilient and low-emissions food system. As the world grapples with the intensifying challenges of climate change, food security and environmental degradation, such concerted climate action in the agriculture sector is the need of the hour.

The entrepreneurial solutions showcased at this panel represent an encouraging step in reimagining how we grow, distribute and consume food while restoring balance with nature’s ecosystems. Continued investments, partnerships and ecosystem support can help take these innovations to scale and pave the way for a food-secure future.

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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