The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation projects the global population could swell to 10 billion in the next 50 years. Feeding this amount of people will require new technologies and practices that are scalable, profitable and ecologically sustainable.
Thailand is stepping up to strengthen food supply with a generous investment program designed to cultivate innovation-driven projects. Incentives and tax exemptions by Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) are offered to high tech companies that set up advanced manufacturing facilities in the country—such as agro-processing and food for the future.
In 2016 alone, Thailand’s BOI approved more than 320 agricultural projects valued over US$4.8 billion.
Roughly 40 percent of the nation’s population works in the agricultural sector. The country's home-grown food processing industry exports a huge range of products—from seafood to energy drinks—to supermarket shelves across the globe.
By 2040, more than a quarter of the country’s population will be 65 years of age or older. With a smaller agricultural labour force, robotics, automated sensors and crop-monitoring, drones will be essential in boosting agricultural yields. Scalability is also critical—which will necessitate investment in automation throughout the agricultural lifecycle, from cell culture technology to bioanalytics.
Start-ups that can engineer food to be less susceptible to travel or heat damage will be critical in increasing nutrition access in the developed and developing worlds alike. With the arrival of biotech breakthroughs like the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, the food and agriculture sector is ripe for disruption.
As climate change leaves millions more in need of food aid each year, the development of more robust crops that can survive droughts and flooding will take on new urgency. As such, projects that push the envelope on molecular and genetic engineering are encouraged in the country.