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3 Things We're Excited About in Our Strategic Partnership with DesignFutures Venture

It was last week during the Shape the World Summit 2022 on 21st June that Insect Feed Technologies (IFT), together with DesignFutures Venture (DFV) made public the announcement of our strategic partnership aimed toward sustainable food production and food security in Singapore and Sarawak.

The launch of IFT and DesignFutures venture's strategic partnership at Shape the World Summit 2022

DFV is an investment holding company that focuses on start-ups in Food, Environment, Data, and Space to accelerate Sarawak’s development as a renewable hub for Southeast Asia.

Why is this exciting?

1. Reduction of Palm Oil Waste to Landfill

Photo by Nazarizal Mohammad on Unsplash

As part of this partnership, TSG Group (affiliated with DFV) will be the exclusive partner for IFT in Sarawak. This will make IFT the leading palm oil waste management partner.

The presence of palm oil wastes has created a major disposal problem in Malaysia. The fundamental principles of waste management are to minimise and recycle the waste, recover the energy and finally dispose of the waste. An effective palm oil waste management system will not only reduce landfill waste and carbon emissions but will also facilitate the creation of a zero-waste closed-loop system for the palm oil industry.

IFT facilities intend to convert palm oil waste into insect protein for animal feed, supporting sustainable food production in the agriculture sector.

2. Supporting the FutureTrees Project in planting 1,000,000 Trees

We are the first partner of DFV committed to supporting the FutureTrees project in planting 1,000,000 Paulownia trees in Sarawak.

Seedlings of Paulownia Trees

We learnt from Dato Chris during the Shape the World Summit 2022 that Paulownia trees are known as "the tree of the future".

These magnificent trees have many amazing characteristics. One of which is its rapid growth which is able to combat rapid deforestation. They are also the preferred tree species in fighting erosion.

The second characteristic is its resilience. Paulownia trees are capable of adapting, growing, and developing in poorer soils. They are the ideal trees for rejuvenating and reclaiming poor and polluted soils. An example, Paulownia can grow on soils polluted with heavy metals and harmful substances, where other trees would not survive. Absorbing these harmful substances relieves the earth from them. Just like how our organic insect frass is used as sustainable soil rejuvenation, similarly, Paulownia helps for remedying the fragile soils, which otherwise would perish and be lost completely.

Besides purifying the soil and waters in it, Paulownia also clears the air of harmful gases. Paulownia can absorb 10 times more CO2 than any other tree species, releasing large quantities of oxygen.

Dato Chris' sharing about the FutureTrees Project

DMV and TSG Group have done extensive research in ensuring the proper reforestation of these Paulownia trees in existing ecosystems. This species is not invasive to native species in the ecosystems and aim to maximise biodiversity and helps to facilitate other goals, including carbon sequestration, socioeconomic benefits, and soil and water stability.

3. Fortifying our Tripartite Relationship

This venture will also result in the creation of valued jobs for the local communities in Sarawak. The partnership will strengthen our tripartite relationship with local communities, R&D partners, and the government to allow effective collaboration in tackling food security and sustainability issues.

The Funding by DFV into IFT

This partnership also includes an investment of S$250,000 by DFV into IFT. The funding is exclusive to IFT, the only start-up investment featured alongside two other DFV projects which include FutureTrees and green data centres.

Following the S$1.25 million seed round funding led by Mistletoe, Juniper Capital, and EcoImpact Capital in March 2022, this sets IFT on an exponential path towards its mission to feed tomorrow’s world by converting organic waste products into high-quality insect protein and frass.

“With funding from DFV, IFT can continue to expand our insect production capabilities and contribute to Singapore and Sarawak’s food security and sustainability agendas”, Founder and CEO of IFT, Sean Tan.

The Growing Relevance of Food Security

The funding was announced following the recent Trade & Investment Mission organised by the Ministry of Trade & Industry to Sarawak that was held on the 14th – 15th of June. IFT was called upon by the Ministry of Trade & Industry Permanent Secretary (Development) Mr. Lee Chuan Teck and YAB Premier of Sarawak The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Johari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, who mentioned that the company has a strategic role in bringing our technology and research capabilities to enhance both states’ food security.

“Insect Feed Technologies is a perfect fit for us because it has a unique model to contribute systemic solutions to solve the food and environmental crisis, and its need to rapidly scale to make a meaningful impact is what we can offer in Sarawak through our ground presence in TSG group in Sarawak”, MD of DFV, Lawrence Chong.

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