Agriculture 

Singapore imports more than 90% of the food we consume. This makes us vulnerable to external developments, especially in the face of global population growth and extreme weather patterns.

Strengthening Singapore's Food Security

Food security is a high priority for Singapore. In this regard, the Ministry of National Development adopts a three-prong approach to strengthen Singapore’s food security, by:

  • Diversifying our import sources;
  • Encouraging local companies to internationalise and produce food overseas to mitigate Singapore’s land constraints; and
  • Encouraging local production to serve as a buffer for the food items most critical to us.

Diversification of Our Import Sources

Diversifying our import sources is a key strategy because we do not have enough land to grow all the food we need.  We are constantly looking out for additional sources of food supply to mitigate the risk of supply shocks to any one source.

Internationalisation

Internationalisation opens up new markets and helps our farms overcome land constraints in Singapore. MND and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) have and will continue to help local farms and food companies venture abroad to seek opportunities. Some successful examples include:

  • A joint venture between a local fish farm – Apollo Aquaculture Group – and a Bruneian company will lead the transformation of a 12-hectare site in Brunei into a high-tech vertical fish farm – the very first in Brunei. The yield is expected to eventually reach 5,000 tonnes a year.
  • Another local farm, Sky Greens, has ventured into Hainan in China. Sky Greens has deployed their vertical farming towers on 0.23 hectares in Hainan Island in China, and they plan to develop 20 hectares more.

Local Production

Local production completes our trilateral food security strategy as it provides a critical buffer against global supply shocks for key food items like vegetables, food fish and eggs. Realistically, there are too many competing uses of land for Singapore to develop vast tracts of agriculture land. Therefore, we will need our current agricultural sector to transform into one that is more productive. Technology will be the multiplier to do more with less.

Over the past year, we have increased engagements with our local farms to enable them to play an active role in transforming our farming sector. A direct result of this engagement is the formation of the Industry Consultation Panel (ICP) in early 2017 consisting of progressive farmers representing various food farm types, as well as academics who can help translate research in agricultural technology into practical implementation in our farms.

In Oct 2017, several members from the ICP formed the Singapore Agro-Food Enterprises Federation Limited (SAFEF), to bring together progressive food farmers as an industry-led, not-for-profit organisation to represent and promote the agro-food sector. Recognising SAFEF is a platform to help local food farmers level up, we will continue to work hand in hand with them to chart the future of farming in Singapore.

The success of our local farms will mean better food security for Singapore. We will continue to work with our local farms, to make the farming ecosystem better. By embracing technology and intensifying the use of land, we can transform our small but vibrant farm sector to remain competitive, as we prepare ourselves for future challenges.