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First vertical farm to boost supply of local greens

Each tower produces up to 10 times more vegetables than usual methods

Published on Oct 25, 2012 6:00 AM

Land-scarce Singapore has its first vertical farm on a plot of land in Lim Chu Kang the size of about five football fields. Vegetables - Chinese cabbage, nai bai and xiao bai cai - grow on 120 towers and the harvest is sold at five NTUC FairPrice Finest outlets. The innovation is also a boost for the country's efforts to widen food-supply sources.

Each 9m-tall tower, made of tiers of planting troughs rotating around an aluminium frame, produces five to 10 times more vegetables than conventional methods in the same land area.

A water-pulley system, using rainwater collected in overhead reservoirs, rotates the troughs so that the plants get a uniform amount of sunlight. A prototype of the tower was developed in 2010 by private company Sky Greens, which owns the farm, and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

The farm, which officially opened on Wednesday, produces 500kg of greens daily. At FairPrice Finest, a 200g bag of xiao bai cai from Sky Greens costs $1.25 while a 250g bag of Pasar brand xiao bai cai from Indonesia costs 75 cents.

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