The NutriBiz Pakistan SUN Pitch Competition was held by the collaboration of SUN Business Network (SBN) Pakistan, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Islamabad chapter. Various dignitaries from the government and nutrition sector of Pakistan attended and participated in the event. The SUN Pitch Competition 2019-20, with the prospective “Rethinking Nutrition Innovations” theme, aimed at highlighting and fostering innovative nutrition solutions in Pakistan.
Pakistan is one of the largest exporters of agriculture globally but suffers from one of the biggest malnutrition plights in the world which has worsened since 2011. To minimize and eliminate the malnutrition burden, SUN Business Network (SBN) Pakistan, with support of GAIN and TiE Islamabad, through SUN Pitch Competition 2019-20, invested in promoting SME-led nutrition-sensitive innovations that presented viable solutions for the food system problems across Pakistan.
Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Country Director, World Food Programme (WFP), Ms. Arnhild Hals Spence said, “The government must set short, medium and long term plans to address the rising trend of malnutrition. Pakistan is a progressing country and we need to understand the situation which has caused such an alarming situation of malnutrition. What we could do is make efforts for ensuring affordability of nutritious and fortified diet to the children.”
The chief guest of the event, Ms. Shandana Gulzar Khan, Member National Assembly, Chairperson Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, said, “Pakistan, one of the top ten exporters of agricultural products in the world, is subjected to one of the biggest hunger issues, which is unfathomable. The market needs to be efficient in allocating resources, ensure the balance of supply and demand, and food provision.
“It’s promising to witness that this completion is promoting the participation of the Pakistani youth in contributing towards the agriculture of Pakistan, health-care, creation of jobs, and the solution of nutritional problems in Pakistan”, she added.
To achieve success in accelerating innovations across the food systems of Pakistan, the collaboration of innovation ecosystem stakeholders in the food system is instrumental. This collaboration will allow stakeholders to comprehensively work on a common agenda, approach and prioritize actions to collectively act on and invest in accelerating promising innovations.” said Zeeshan Shahid, Executive Director, TiE Islamabad
Mr. Faiz Rasool, Head of Programs GAIN Pakistan, said, “We aim to refine the current global discourse on food innovations to challenges, and support local SMEs and entrepreneurs in Pakistan to identify and scale-up disruptive, appropriate and commercially viable innovations. These solutions proposed today will address the current and future challenges that impede consumption of nutritious and safe foods for all, especially for low-income consumers.”
A total of ten SMEs selected from across Pakistan pitched their innovative ideas in nutrition solutions to a panel of judges. Poulta Inc., a SaaS-based poultry solution that aims to disrupt the poultry industry of Pakistan through a data-driven monitoring system and analytics to help farmers detect early, predict and take measures to prevent their problems, was declared the winner of the SUN Pitch Competition Pakistan 2019-20. Poulta Inc. will now go on to receive additional mentorship and training before competing in the Global SUN Pitch Competition in Singapore.
An informative and enlightening panel discussion on Food systems for nutrition. How to accelerate nutrition focused innovations across the food system in Pakistan – challenges, opportunities and way forward was also organized through which the present challenges faced by the food system in Pakistan, and the necessary steps to overturn these problems were proposed a panel of experts.
The event was concluded by guests visiting a marketplace set up at the event which showcased the solutions presented by the participating SMEs.