March 12, 2020
A NECESSITY FOR THE FUTURE
Singapore has consistently ranked high in the Global Food Security Index (published by The Economist Intelligence Unit), even topping it in 2018 and 2019 1. These rankings list the most food secure nations in the world. Singapore’s ranking is a validation of its work and commitment towards keeping food prices affordable and maintaining high standards for food safety. To ensure the future of its food security, it has set its sight upon improving local production that only accounts for less than 10 per cent of its demand at present. The past couple of years have thus witnessed a greater sense of urgency on the part of the government as it takes the lead to transform the food sector through several top-down initiatives.
Although Singapore has a growing number of community-based urban farms, the government is instead looking to modern agrotechnology farms to make up the shortfall in local production. Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, identified four key initiatives required to achieve this target 3 :
- Use technology to grow more with less;
- Unlock physical spaces for farming;
- Develop local talent; and
- Get consumers to support local.
In 2018, the erstwhile Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) deviated from the common tendering method of awarding farming parcels based on the bid amount. It instead awarded 13 land parcels (10 parcels for vegetable farming and three for aquaculture) with a fixed tender price to companies solely on the merit of their concept for innovation and high-intensity production 4.
1. Liew, Maegan. 30 by 30: Boosting food security in land-scarce Singapore. Asean Today. [Online] March 22, 2019. https://www.aseantoday.com/2019/03/30-by-30-boosting-food-security-in-land-scarce-singapore/.
2. Cheng, Ian. New laws proposed to ensure Singapore’s food security. Channel News Asia. [Online] January 16, 2019. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-laws-proposed-singapore-food-agency-security-11126814?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna.
3. Mahmud, Aqil Haziq. Singapore aims to produce 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030, up from less than 10%. Channel News Asia. [Online] March 7, 2019.
4. Wong, Derek. AVA awards 10 land parcels to vegetable farmers with innovative concepts. The Straits Times. [Online] February 9, 2018. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/ava-awards-10-land-parcels-to-vegetable-farmers-with-innovative-concepts.
5. Singh, Bryna. Vertical farms on the rise in land scarce Singapore. The Straits Times. [Online] July 10, 2016. https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/vertical-farms-on-the-rise-in-land-scarce-singapore.
6. From sky farms to lab-grown shrimp, Singapore eyes food future. Channel News Asia. [Online] May 30, 2019. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-food-future-sky-farms-lab-shrimps-11579732.
7. Sky Greens. [Online] https://www.skygreens.com/.
8. Begum, Shabana. Vertical farm receives the world’s first urban farm certification for organic vegetables. The Straits Times. [Online] June 11, 2019. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/vertical-farm-receives-the-worlds-first-urban-farm-certification-for-organic-vegetables.
9. Wei, Low De. Strawberries grown in Singapore vertical farm make debut. The Straits Times. [Online] June 20, 2018. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/strawberries-grown-in-singapore-vertical-farm-make-debut.
10. Wan, Lester. Singapore’s largest indoor farm to give food firms and national food security a boost. Food Navigator-Asia.com. [Online] August 8, 2018. https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2018/08/08/Singapore-s-largest-indoor-farm-to-give-food-firms-and-national-food-security-a-boost.
11. Eisenberg, Jacob. Cultivating Future Farmers — Singapore’s Kok Fah Technology Farm. Medium. [Online] February 2, 2018. https://medium.com/agri-futures/cultivating-future-farmers-singapores-kok-fah-technology-farm-9e2d9af5e48e.
12. Singapore – The Next Great Place for Urban Agriculture. Enterprise Singapore. [Online] January 18, 2019. https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/blog/agritech/singapore-the-next-great-place-for-urban-agriculture?utm_source=website&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=Indoor+Ag-Con+2019.
13. Singapore makes room for allotment gardens as urban farming takes root. Today Online. [Online] April 15, 2019. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singapore-makes-room-allotment-gardens-urban-farming-takes-root.
14. Former Henderson Secondary to transform into pre-school, nursing home, urban farm. Channel News Asia. [Online] September 25, 2018. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/henderson-secondary-transform-childcare-nursing-home-farm-10755836?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna.
15. Rodrigues, Stacey. Urban Rooftop Farming Is Becoming More Than Just A Trend In Singapore. Singapore Tatler. [Online] October 29, 2019. https://sg.asiatatler.com/dining/singapore-urban-rooftop-farming-trend.
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Previously Published City Profile
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