Tuesday, August 04, 2020

ADB Ventures funds LocalFarm app to help tourism sector endure downturn

Jun 25. 2020
LocalFarm will help farmers who had relied on tourism for their income to market seasonal fruit and vegetables directly to consumers, says ADB.
LocalFarm will help farmers who had relied on tourism for their income to market seasonal fruit and vegetables directly to consumers, says ADB.
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By The Nation

The Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s impact investment platform, ADB Ventures, teamed up with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to support the creation of LocalFarm, an online application that will help mitigate the impact Covid-19 has had on Thailand’s tourism sector.

LocalFarm will help farmers who had relied on tourism for their income to market seasonal fruit and vegetables directly to consumers. The app features agricultural produce from more than 50 sellers across Thailand. The creator, TakeMeTour, does not charge any fees or commissions from sellers. 

“We are thrilled to launch LocalFarm, which will give our local guides and farmers the opportunity to earn and to connect with new customers,” TakeMeTour’s co-founder Taro Amornched said. “It ialso opens a great opportunity for farmers once tourism is revived. We’re looking forward to working with ADB Ventures and TAT to scale this platform across the country.

“In this unprecedented crisis, it is impressive to see how quickly and efficiently TakeMeTour has developed an innovative platform to help frontline tourism workers earn via alternative income streams,” ADB Venture’s senior investment specialist Dominic Mellor said.  

TakeMeTour is an online marketplace that for the past five years has been matching tourists with independent local guides. It developed LocalFarm after learning that Thai local guides, many of whom operate farms and gardens, will lose income during the pandemic. 

ADB Ventures provides venture capital and technical assistance to highly-scalable technology businesses in Asia and the Pacific, supporting their expansion into emerging markets and helping countries achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Investors in ADB Ventures include Finland’s Foreign Ministry, the Clean Technology Fund, the Nordic Development Fund and South Korea’s Economy and Finance Ministry. 

ADB and TAT have supported TakeMeTour since 2017, and now it has become the Greater Mekong subregion’s largest peer-to-peer tourism platform, featuring tours and activities hosted by more than 25,000 local experts, more than 60 per cent of whom are women. 

ADB Ventures gave TakeMeTour US$150,000 (Bt4.6 million) in seed grant funding for the development of LocalFarm as well as regional market validation. ADB Ventures seed grants are reimbursable and give ADB Ventures the option to make future equity investments. 

Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members — 49 from the region

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