Nurture agri-tech sector to help developing countries

Of the features on Impact Journalism Day, the article on water sanitation in Uganda struck me the most (Ceramic filter provides wellspring of safe drinking water in Uganda; June 16).

Singaporeans have long taken our water supplies for granted because clean water is always available.

This is not so in many developing countries, such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia as well as many African nations.

According to this year's United Nations' World Water Development Report, it is estimated that by 2050, up to 5.7 billion people could live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year (Water, water everywhere - but for how much longer?; ST Online, March 19).

Singapore could consider nurturing agriculture technology expertise, and use nature-based solutions to resolve issues such as biodiversity, land degradation and desertification in developing countries.

This would build upon thetrack records of local companies such as Olam and Wilmar in food supplies and security, Hyflux in water treatment and Sembcorp in waste management.

Growing our agriculture technology sector by leveraging our existing research and development pool, would also help us expand to overseas markets, boost employment and diversify our food sources beyond Asia.

Edward Tay Wee Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Nurture agri-tech sector to help developing countries'. Print Edition | Subscribe