Bangkok is aiming to become the Silicon Valley of food technology through its SPACE-F project, which aims to tackle the global food security crisis and make Bangkok the “kitchen of the world,” Thailand's National Innovation Agency (NIA) said.
Citing the UN's “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” 2022 report, Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director of the NIA, said in a press release on Thursday that around 800 million people — or 10 percent of the world’s population — are suffering from hunger brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.
“Not only that Thailand has sufficient raw material to serve growing demands, the country also has a top-notch logistics service,” Chairatana said. “These attributes make the Thai food industry exceptional and position Thailand as the kitchen of the world.”
The NIA aims to accomplish this through its SPACE-F project, an incubator and accelerator program founded in 2019 in partnership with the Thai Union and Mahidol University. Billed as the “first-ever food tech innovation program in Thailand,” the project will help boost food-tech startups in the country.
“The project brings together FoodTech startups and corporates through innovative mentorship, business connections, and a co-working program,” Chairatana explained. “SPACE-F provides a prominent platform to encourage entrepreneurial startups to embrace deep tech and innovation to bring advancement to their business and the food industry. Selected startups then will be mentored to take on Southeast Asian and global markets.”
Through NIA’s SPACE-F project, the agency would help “Encourage the creation of innovative products or services to support the demand of consumers and large cooperates” and provide mentorship to startups through the project’s various programs.
The programs aim to help attract foreign food-tech startups with funding from Thai food companies and help them establish companies in Bangkok.
Lastly, the NIA plans to cooperate with the private sector to make Bangkok the “FoodTech Silicon Valley.”
“By the end of 2025, the FoodTech industry is expected to be worth 7.76 trillion baht. And with our vision and commitment to supporting the startup ecosystem, NIA will continue to drive Bangkok towards becoming the Food Silicon Valley using SPACE-F as the main mechanism,” Chairatana said.
Since its founding three years ago, Chairatana said the project has already mentored 50 food-tech startups.
“Graduates from the project are now blossoming and have received continued investment from the private sector, especially the Alternative Proteins. These new economic warriors will play pivotal roles in shaping the sustainable future of global food security,” he said.
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