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Collaborative Solutions for Sustainable Food Systems

Sustainable agriculture plays a pivotal role in addressing global issues from food security to gender equality and climate change. Agriculture contributes predominantly to greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for the largest percentage of water use worldwide. Meanwhile, gender disparities in areas such as land ownership, paid labor, and basic services also persist in the sector. To end hunger and poverty, farming needs to be sustainable and inclusive.

However, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 821 million people are currently undernourished. On top of this, the global population is expected to increase alongside demand for food. FAO and ISSD reported that food availability must increase by 60 percent by 2050 to meet such demand, and an additional USD 140 billion of annual investments is needed to achieve food security—a challenging goal that underscores the long journey ahead.

Now, more than ever, there’s a pressing need to build inclusive, sustainable and resilient agrifood systems. To help address this, the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA) and Grow Asia recently convened 80 member and partner organizations during the Key Partners Meeting to discuss best practices and strategies that encourage investments in agriculture. 


At the meeting, Grow Asia’s Executive Director Beverley Postma emphasized the urgent need to confront the interconnected issues of food security and climate change, highlighting their impact on vulnerable communities and women farmers. Grow Asia and its country chapters deliver on regional priorities through four blended impact investment funds: GrowVentures which enables digital inclusion and farmers’ adoption of climate-smart innovation; GrowHer on women’s economic empowerment; GrowRight on driving responsible investing in the sector; and GrowBeyond, a closed-loop blended finance model that addresses the current fragmentation of climate finance. These integrated impact funds are a solution to the current fragmentation in efforts to address the complex problems that exist in our food systems.

These funds are co-matching mechanisms for public and private contributions, with the goal to deliver transformation at scale and increase equitable access to essential resources such as technology and finance, which are critical for the 70 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and smallholder farmers who are at the heart of our agri-food systems. 

To act on the commitment towards climate action, Bev stressed the importance of ending isolated and bilateral projects, and moving towards collaborations and partnerships. These partnerships among various stakeholders will foster change greater than the sum of its parts.

“The time for isolated, satellite, and bilateral pilot projects has passed. It is now time for us to work together to harvest the learnings from these projects by leveraging more strategic multi-stakeholder mechanisms that integrate the limited resources of individual actors-governments, companies, philanthropies, and civil society to deliver impact that is greater than the sum of their parts.” Bev elaborated.


PPSA’s Private Sector Co-Chair and East-West Seed Head of Partnerships and Alliances Dr Mary Ann Sayoc highlighted the National Economic and Development Authority’s recognition of the agricultural sector's value and the importance of adopting a multi-faceted strategy aimed at overcoming challenges in the agricultural value chain. This includes bridging infrastructure gaps, promoting the adoption of modern technologies, enhancing market and financial access for local producers, and strengthening resilience against climate change. 

Multi-stakeholder platforms like Grow Asia and PPSA are instrumental in addressing these challenges. By bringing together different sectors and leveraging the unique strengths and perspectives of each stakeholder, these platforms can develop and implement strategies that are effective and sustainable. Through such collaborative efforts, multi-stakeholder platforms can drive significant progress towards a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector in the Philippines and at the regional level.

PPSA and its members and partners adopt a holistic approach that helps foster growth and empowerment in the sector. In implementing the GrowHer ASEAN Green Recovery through Equity and Empowerment (AGREE) project, PPSA tapped the GrowHer impact fund and the support of multi-stakeholders in developing case studies and policy recommendations that would enable women farmers to thrive in the agriculture sector. 

“We know that women account for just over 40% of the agricultural labor force, yet receive only 7% of agricultural investment. By empowering these women to lead and educate, we are fostering a network of knowledge-sharing and support that is essential for long-term sustainability of our food systems,” said Bev. 


GrowHer and the AGREE Project help address this gap in numbers by training women corn farmers in climate-smart farming practices and agripreneurship. By enabling them to become climate champions, these Filipina women not only apply practices in their own fields but pass the knowledge they obtained to their peers, amplifying the project's impact.

“Through the collaborations and partnerships fostered by Grow Asia and PPSA, we have seen firsthand how unity and collective action can lead to transformative outcomes. These partnerships are living proof that when we come together, the impact of our efforts is multiplied, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond our immediate reach,” said Mary Ann.


By bringing together a diverse array of partners from government, industry, and civil society, Grow Asia and PPSA seek to foster greater collaboration in agri-food systems transformation. A broadened network will enable the multi-stakeholder platform to leverage a wide range of expertise, resources, and innovative solutions, ultimately enhancing its ability to promote sustainable development and improve livelihoods across ASEAN agriculture.

Grow Asia and PPSA hope to further its advocacy through its growing network of multi-stakeholders, whose collaboration holds the potential to reshape the future of agriculture, creating a resilient and equitable future for all. 

“It is through our partnerships—across sectors and borders—that we will foster the innovation and resilience required to meet the challenges of our time,” said PPSA’s Country Director Angel Bautista.

A huge thanks to our Platinum Sponsor San Miguel Foundation and Silver Sponsor Maynilad Water Services, Inc. for your support in making this event a success!

For more photos of the event:


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