Final Edition Of WIEF Idealab 2020 Series On Enticing Youth To Agribusiness


Sep  29th

KUALA LUMPUR,– The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation, through WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN), successfully held the final edition of WIEF Idealab 2020 Series on 29 September 2020 at 3pm, (GMT +8). The topic of this workshop, ThinkTalk:  Enticing Youth to Agribusiness was crafted to address worrying global food insecurity and the rising average age of farmers, the most recent being 59.4 years in 2019, according to Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

This third and final edition of the virtual Idealab 2020 Series was attended by more than 150 participants, from 21 countries, ranging from entrepreneurs, farmers, fresh graduates and professionals. The one-hour session was hosted by Jessy Chahal, Malaysian television personality and broadcast journalist.

The session’s role-player, Darren Tan, who is Head of Education and Community Outreach from ComCrop, Singapore, shared his experience and knowledge on farming – specifically urban farming. He started the session by explaining about the volatility, uncertainty and complexity of the current global situation: ‘No one can be too sure about the impact of certain events. One of the things that arose from the COVID-19 situation was the realisation about the issue of food security in many countries.’

Darren added that the realisation of global food scarcity has influenced many countries to jumpstart their agriculture sector by emphasizing more on farming innovations and AI, which led to the creation of plant factories, rooftop and underground farming. These innovations have made it possible for farmers to explore more types of plantations and not be bound by location or land size. Between 2012 and 2017, the asset size of investments specialising in food and agricultural has jumped from USD27 billion to USD73 billion, an average of 25 per cent increase every year. This trend is not likely to stop.

Addressing the importance of enticing youths to agribusiness, Darren explained that youths are the best catalyst to make agriculture more attractive to their age group, with the help of social media. They have the energy, passion and support required to make agribusiness work. ‘When we focus and invest in the youth, we are essentially planting the seeds of tomorrow’s success,’ Darren said.

Darren concluded the webinar with two key takeaways:

  • There is a very clear shift towards agribusiness and youths should always be the focus.
  • Contrary to popular believe, youths are not only attracted to typical monetary incentives but also inspired to make their world a better place. Therefore, the community and policy makers should be open to including youths in various parts of agribusiness, not just working the farm.

‘It was an informative session which has inspired me to start my own agribusiness from home,‘ said a participant, Hardi Raimee, from Tanah Emas Resources. ‘I hope that WIEF will organise more agribusiness related workshops in the future.’

This final edition of WIEF Idealab 2020 Series kicked off with a violin performance by Nisa Addina. Nisa is a contemporary violinist, composer as well as producer born and raised in Kuching, Sarawak. She enthralled the audience with an original track entitled Borneo Rainforest, which she composed when she was in the United States, as a tribute to her hometown.

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About WIEF Idealab

IdeaLab, an initiative of WIEF Foundation’s Young Leaders Network (WYN), is an established startup conference that cultivates entrepreneurs and assists in the development of startup ecosystems. IdeaLab’s relevance stems from its assorted features, developed and refined through five years, that spur key players in the global startup ecosystem to share experiences and find ways to sustainably scale up. The virtual arm of WYN called WIEF Idealab 2020 Series, serves as survival guide for startups during the pandemic and beyond through online discussions and workshops by industry experts.


About WIEF Foundation’s Young Leaders Network (WYN)

Aimed at promoting cross-border business opportunities and social projects for the common good, WYN is a global youth network for young pioneers and changemakers to connect and collaborate. It organises youth-oriented flagship programmes including IdeaLab, Young Fellows, MOCAfest, MOCAfellows and ThinkTalk.


About World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation

World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation was established in 2005. It is the organising body of the annual World Islamic Economic Forum. The Forum serves as a focal point where country leaders, captains of industry, emerging entrepreneurs, academics and other stakeholders from the Muslim World and beyond, meet to build bridges through business. The Foundation also undertakes various capacity building programmes under WIEF initiatives of the Businesswomen Network (WBN), Young Leaders Network (WYN), Education Trust (WET) and Roundtable Series (WRT).



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Darren Tan heads the Education and Community Outreach efforts at ComCrop, which is Singapore’s first and only AVA-licensed rooftop greenhouse farm. There, he ensures the continuity of knowledge to the next generation of farmers, as well as help the farm stay relevant and supportive of the community they are in.  His science background has helped the farm keep up to date with developments in plant growth and nutrient formulation for yield optimisation. Having accumulated different experiences in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as various roles as an educator in a local secondary school, he has balanced perspectives on Singapore’s environmental sustainability and food security matters.

Darren was awarded the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellowship by the American Department of State in 2017 and represented Singapore on an exchange focusing on environmental sustainability. He was nominated to be part of the Singapore Leaders Programme (OSLP) in 2018, a leadership programme that develops a network of high potential young Singaporeans. Darren is also part of the MEWR-NYC Youth Circles, that work closely with the two agencies on ground-up initiatives to co-deliberation of policies. He also mentors through the American Embassy Alumni Mentoring Programme and the 2019 Youth Action Challenge.


Jessy Chahal is a television anchor and presenter of news and live talk shows on current issues. She has over 16 years of corporate and media industry experience, with Frost & Sullivan, Oracle, Media Prima Berhad and Bernama. She hosted and moderated events such as President Obama’s visit to Malaysia, The Economic Times Business Leaders Conclave with Prime Ministers of Malaysia and India, as well as the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF).

Jessy is the founder of boutique communications firm, Bloom PR MediaComm. She is passionate about women empowerment, youth and technology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in computing and multimedia from Staffordshire University, United Kingdom, and a Master of Business Administration from Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.


Nisa Addina is a contemporary violinist, composer and producer born and raised in Kuching,

Sarawak. She represents Sarawak and its culture through her music, having played various differing styles from classical, R&B, pop and jazz to a broad global audience. While in Berklee College of Music, she performed with various artists such as Jacob Collier and Tia Ray, as well as recorded many compositions and arrangements.

Nisa has released a debut EP “Yakina” produced by Syafiee Obe and an album dedicated to the Malaysian music icon, Tan Sri P Ramlee produced by Malaysian Berklee Alumni Helen Yap, featuring Aubrey Suwito, Jenny Chin and Azlan Abu Hassan.

In 2011, Nisa was the first Malaysian to win the Junior Grand Champion in the instrumentalist category at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. This placed her in the Malaysian Book of Records. She played with the Permata Seni Music (PSM) ensemble of Istana Budaya in Malaysia from 2010-2011 under the tutelage of principal conductor Mustafa Fuzer Nawi.