Social entrepreneurs are changing the food system in Asia – and contributing to bringing back Smart Foods

Social entrepreneurs are a growing movement in Asia, and although each one is a relatively small player, together they can galvanize and transform the food system.  A wide range of social entrepreneurs showcased how they are changing the food system at the recent Asia Pacific EAT Forum in Jakarta. Many of them are recognized by the USAID and Australian Government Launch program as food innovators from around the globe.

Some of the entrepreneurs related how they are contributing to the food system. Many are also focused on reviving the use of traditional nutritious foods, including millets and other Smart Food.

Helianti Hilman, Founder and CEO, Javara company, Indonesia, who is helping farmers in Indonesia develop and market their own products.
Cherrie Atilano, Founding Farmer and President, AGREA, working with farmers for sustainable production and marketing of produce in the Philippines.
Charlene Tan, Good Food Co, Philippines, speaking on her social enterprise Community Shared Farming.
Robert Oliver, Celebrity chef, on how he is using reality TV to change fast food diets in the South Pacific islands.

Indian social entrepreneurs

India is known to have a fast growing entrepreneurship culture, mainly in the IT sector. However, lately the food industry too has been attracting many such entrepreneurs.  There is also a movement in the food industry. These are from people who are conscious socially, environmentally as well as for health. Many also see the need to support farmers who are at the beginning of the food chain, yet are often the last to benefit. They also recognize the need to return to traditional and more sustainable farming systems to ensure healthier food reaches us.

Here are some of their inspiring stories and their struggles.

Sridhar Irventi of Go Bharrathi taking a holistic approach from traditional farming to providing nutritious foods.
Dr Gayathri Swahar, Marketing Director, Y–Cook, engaging directly with the farmer and training and helping sell any of their produce.
This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8-industry-innovation

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