With less than 10% of food consumed in Singapore grown locally, Singapore is on an ambitious journey to patch a key vulnerability further accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Combining Singapore’s ambitions with Danish agricultural strongholds may just be the right solution to greater food security, creating a strong foundation for Singaporean-Danish collaboration.
Singapore is embarking on a journey to reduce its dependency on other countries for its food supply. Today, less than 10% of food consumed in Singapore is grown locally and in 2019, the Government of Singapore announced an ambitious plan that includes the “30 by 30” goal: 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs must be produced locally by 2030, using less than 1% of the land area.
With limited land area and resources (water, energy, labour), this plan will help enhance food security, drive innovation and create economic opportunities in the urban farming and urban aquaculture sectors in the long run.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore has faced certain levels of disruption to the supply and import of foods. Due to Singapore’s existing proactive stockpiling and diversification approach, these disturbances have not yet been damaging for the country. Nevertheless, the situation has further accentuated the Republic’s vulnerability in terms of food supply and it is now determined to have this remedied.
Consequently, in April 2020, an additional grant of 30 million Singapore dollar was committed under the nation’s S$19 billion Research, Innovation & Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan. This grant will help local farmers ramp up their production of eggs, leafy vegetables and fish over the next 6 to 24 months. Furthermore, the Government of Singapore is currently formulating the RIE2025 masterplan for the next five years.
The 30% consists of 20% fruits and vegetables and 10% proteins (e.g. fish and eggs). To achieve this on less than 1% of the land area, Singapore has to look at leveraging innovative, highly productive, climate-resilient and resource-efficient technologies and solutions, alongside innovative business models and policies. International collaboration will be key in realising this goal and in creating a dynamic ecosystem.
Intensive farming technologies, climate control technologies and multi-tier farming systems are just some of the many technologies and solutions being explored to achieve the ”30 by 30” goal.
In stark contrast to Singapore, Denmark has a strong agricultural tradition despite its small size. The Scandinavian country produces crops and livestock enough to feed almost three times the number of its inhabitants, exporting most of the excess production. Denmark is also an exporter of fishery and aquaculture products with an export value of EUR 4.1 billion in 2017.
Agriculture and aquaculture are sectors with high productivity, intensive research and innovation as well as a strong tradition for public-private partnerships. Innovation and R&D have been a key part of Denmark’s agriculture and aquaculture sectors for many years. This has enabled Denmark to transition to high-tech farming, urban farming and aquaculture techniques, while continuously pushing the technological limitations.
Some of the key areas of expertise include sustainable farming and aquaculture approaches, indoor vertical farming techniques, hydroponics and recycling of water, organic ecosystems, post-harvest handling, reuse of nutrition, fertilisation, cooling, wastewater treatment, safe and nutritious fish feed solutions, value chain optimisation, etc.
The Access Cities programme follows Singapore’s journey towards sustainable food production closely. The programme continuously looks for solutions to the challenges within agriculture and aquaculture. If you would like to find out more about opportunities for collaboration, please get in touch with the Access Cities representative in Singapore.