Govt working with local aquaculture industry to bolster food security

We thank Mr Ong Junkai for his views on local aquaculture (More must be done to boost local aquaculture; Feb 21).

Local production is a key strategy for Singapore's food security, as it acts as an important buffer in the event of an import disruption.

In this regard, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) provides extensive support to improve the productivity of our farms. For example, AVA account managers work closely with local farms in areas such as technology adoption, capability building, business development, and applications for incentive schemes.

Technology-sourcing trips abroad are also organised for our local farms to learn from other countries' best practices, while technology-matching sessions link our local farmers up with solution providers and technology developers. For instance, local aquaculture farmers were introduced to advanced automated fish-feeding systems and net cleaners during a recent technology-sourcing trip to Norway.

To develop technical expertise, AVA has been conducting R&D on large-scale productions of fish-fry and has shared this technology with the industry. We provide technical assistance for the breeding of food fish species.

Our research and private-sector partners are also looking into closing the production life cycles of some food fish species, and how improved nutrition and genetic selection can raise farm productivity.

In tandem with these initiatives, AVA is working on growing the aquaculture ecosystem.

This includes working closely with various stakeholders, such as institutes of higher learning and the private sector.

Last year, we introduced a structured internship programme, where tertiary students apply the knowledge and practical skills learnt in school at local farms.

As we work on helping our local farms increase production, growing the demand for local produce is paramount.

AVA has thus rolled out various public education initiatives. This includes working with local farmers to organise farmers' markets to familiarise Singaporeans with the benefits of buying local.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders to bolster Singapore's food security.

Melvin Chow

Group Director, Food Supply Resilience Group

Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2018, with the headline 'Govt working with local aquaculture industry to bolster food security'. Subscribe