Forum: More spaces being looked at for farming

A photo from Nov 11, 2019, shows leafy greens at Mr Chai Kien Chin's Fire Flies Health Farm in Lim Chu Kang.
A photo from Nov 11, 2019, shows leafy greens at Mr Chai Kien Chin's Fire Flies Health Farm in Lim Chu Kang.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr David Cheong for his feedback (Ideas to boost food security in Singapore, March 18).

To enhance food security, Singapore is focusing on managing our food supply in three baskets:

• diversifying our food sources

• growing overseas and

• growing locally.

Local production will mitigate our reliance on imports and serve as a buffer during supply disruptions to import sources.

Singapore's 30 by 30 vision is about producing 30 per cent of our nutritional needs locally by the year 2030, up from less than 10 per cent today.

This vision calls for the transformation of the local agri-food sector into one that is highly productive, innovative and sustainable.

By leveraging technology to grow more with less, commercial high-tech farms have the scale and production levels to better buffer supply disruptions to import sources.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has been supporting local farmers to embrace technology through the $63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF).

The APF co-funds farming systems to better control environmental variables and boost production capabilities, benefiting 108 farms as of January.

The APF can also co-fund research and development, and the test-bedding of technologies.

But beyond ramping up local production, support from Singaporeans is equally important.

By engaging in individual and community farming of edibles, Singaporeans will be able to appreciate the hard work put in by farmers to produce food.

With better understanding, Singaporeans can show support for our local farms by buying their produce, and work together as a nation to overcome our food challenge and enhance our food security.

SFA has also been looking to make more spaces available for urban farming, including multi-storey carpark rooftops.

Our pilot project last year showed that there is potential for urban farms to scale up and operate on more of these rooftops, and we will continue to facilitate the expansion of such farming.

Another example is the former site of Henderson Secondary School, where the space is integrated with a childcare centre, a nursing home and dialysis centre, and an urban farm.

The adaptive reuse of the site contributes towards local food production and offers opportunities to test-bed innovative technologies for urban farming.

Melvin Chow

Senior Director

Food Supply Resilience Division

Singapore Food Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2020, with the headline 'More spaces being looked at for farming'. Print Edition | Subscribe