Uncovering Challenges to Innovation Adoption and Sustainability Practices at Bottom-of-the-Pyramid


The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 aims to significantly reduce ecological footprint through a drastic reduction of food losses along production and supply chains by 2030. A specific challenge spelled out by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (2017) is the adoption of sustainable production systems and practices by farms, and the establishment of ecosystems and communities to address a country’s specific needs for sustainable agriculture.

We draw our research focus on soybean, a global food commodity which is forecasted to have an exponential growth in production and outstrip the demand arising from other protein and vegetable based food commodities by 2027 (OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook, 2018). In the context of this growth statistic, it is expected that the volume of food waste involved in soybean production across relevant middle and low-income developing countries will be significantly higher compared to other food commodities. Much of the existing waste estimates arising from soybean production in these countries are attributed to traditional methods where there is limited technological reach as well as institutional and behavioural barriers to sustainable production.  

The overarching objective of our proposed research project is thus to develop inter-disciplinary expertise to identify how food processing innovations can be used for waste reduction by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) markets.

Expected outcomes:

  • Disseminate better practices to users in cooperation with salient stakeholders of soybean production, and
  • Test transferability of best practices across soybean producing low and middle income developing countries.

In order to address this broad research objective, we will carry out a preliminary scoping project that sets out to investigate the key motives and barriers faced by soybean producing SMEs at the BoP markets in Indonesia, in adopting innovations and eliminating waste from their production process. This will be carried out to:

  • develop insights through interviews with farmers, agribusiness owners and government officials in Indonesia to comprehend the multiple challenges for adoption and implementation of food processing innovations by soybean-producing SMEs;
  • validate and refine our research framework through engagement with local and international stakeholders to better scope out the prospective policy and managerial implications.
  • generate inter-disciplinary expertise through preliminary discussion and knowledge dissemination workshops.