Food sustainability in Singapore – Despite its status as one of the most competitive economies globally, Singapore still experiences multiple issues, including food security – a challenge felt on several fronts. Thankfully, food sustainability in Singapore is a continuous effort encouraged by the government and adopted by an increasing number of companies.
Singapore is a small city-state with limited access to natural resources. Only 1% of the land is used for food production, while 90% of food is imported internationally in an increasingly disorderly world.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine-Russia tension have further augmented the gravity of safeguarding food security. Singapore has been actively planning for long-term food security via the Singapore Food Agency’s (SFA) “three food baskets” strategy, diversifying food sources, growing both locally and overseas.
This approach has been serving the Republic well in securing a safe food supply.
Singapore’s food imports leverage the nation’s robust connectivity and the global free trade environment to import from different sources in around 170 countries and regions globally.
If disruption to one source happens, importers can tap alternative food sources to retain supply stability. Lockdown measures caused by Covid-19 revealed Singapore’s vulnerabilities to food supply disruptions.
The food supply remained stable, and market shelves were restored promptly thanks to a deliberate government strategy to diversify food sources.
To keep the nation’s diversified food supply lines unbroken despite global issues, SFA, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Enterprise Singapore (ESG), is tapped to oversee Singapore’s food supply situation. Assisted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two worked with other countries to retain open trade links.
Local production as a vital buffer
SFA drives local farm innovation intending to produce 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030, dubbed the “30 by 30” plan. This can be achieved through a holistic and long-term approach to boosting agri-food technology, space-planning, and developing local agri-specialists.
The Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF) supports food sustainability in Singapore for local farms to let them develop and lead towards better productivity.
Through multiple government segments, co-fund the adoption of farming systems to control better environmental variables boost production capabilities and test-bed technologies. Almost S$42 million was set aside for 115 farms between October 2014 and September 2020.
Through advanced robotic and digital systems capability for use in farming, Singapore’s farmers have also started taking advantage of technology, becoming specialists and innovative agri-engineers in their own right.
Singapore farms will start leveraging artificial intelligence in their farming systems coupled with dosing irrigation, IoT monitoring, and an advanced environmental control system to get optimum growing conditions throughout the year.
Food sustainability in Singapore is a proactive mission with wide-ranging efforts at ensuring food security. Still, it would not be effective without support from consumers and companies looking to go green. While the pandemic and looming war have led to import issues, it also affected the efforts to accelerate local product support. With local support for farmers and other crucial measures, Singapore can ensure food security and beat the odds despite the global situation.