Global Innovation Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture

November 11, 2019

UNDP announces Cultiv@te, a Global Innovation Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture

Singapore, Nov 12 — Cultiv@te, a global technology and innovation initiative for sustainable agriculture was announced today at the Singapore  FinTech Festival (SFF) and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Chief Digital Officer Robert Opp, alongside partners from the Government of Singapore and the private sector.

The world will need to feed nine billion people in 2050 and meeting that demand will require an increase in food production levels by some 70%. The effects of climate change put further strain on dwindling resources, increasing the vulnerability of resource-dependent agricultural sector. Agriculture accounts for around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and 68% of global freshwater withdrawals and consumption.

We must transform existing patterns of production and consumption to achieve responsible and sustainable use of resources. The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s present food demands without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs.

Cultiv@te – an innovation initiative of UNDP supported by the Singapore Government – will curate multi-stakeholder coalitions to tackle key challenges faced by developing countries across the globe and explore opportunities in urban agriculture, climate resilience and livestock farming.

The programme offers mature growth-stage startups and R&D teams from academic institutions a unique opportunity to work in a number of emerging markets with immense potential and needs. The global cohort will join local innovators, technology experts, corporate mentors, and financiers to co-design solutions with farmers and policy makers. Applications are now open via

“We are joining forces with Singapore to help catalyze solutions that can transform agricultural practices in the face of increasing strains from climate change and increasing pressures on food supplies. To promote sustainability and climate-resilience, we will be leveraging the dynamism of Singapore and the reach of UNDP”, said Mr. Opp.

As a country that imports more than 90% of its food, Singapore is vulnerable to disruptions in global food supply. Increasing local production is one of Singapore's key food security strategies. “We have set a 30-by-30 goal, to locally produce 30% of Singapore’s needs by 2030. To meet this ambitious goal, Singapore will need to transform our agri-food sector to raise productivity, invest in innovation, and adopt sustainable technologies. We look forward to working with UNDP on Cultiv@te, to spur innovations in sustainable agriculture in Singapore and countries across the world,” said Hazri Hassan, Director (International Policy), Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore.

“Open innovation is becoming increasingly important in driving the development of tech solutions that are not only innovative, but are practical in addressing real-world problems. It will help companies and governments to access a wider pool of solution providers, while allowing SMEs and startups to validate the market need for their new and existing technology. We hope to support the UNDP in addressing sustainble agriculture issues in countries across the globe through the innovation ecosystem in Singapore,” says Edwin Chow, Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Innovation & Enterprise), Enterprise Singapore. Enterprise Singapore is the government agency championing enterprise development and in charge of growing the innovation and startup ecosystem in Singapore.

“We are very excited to see globally-sourced technologies and innovations combine in novel ways with market insights, know-how and traditional farming practices that impact sustainability and livelihoods of farming communities” said Bradley Busetto, the Director of the new UNDP Global Centre in Singapore.


The new UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development is a partnership with the Government of Singapore, mandated to create and identify sustainability solutions for the developing world, focusing on sustainable finance, digitalisation and sustainable agriculture.