Coronavirus: Individuals should do their part to strengthen Singapore's food security, says DPM

DPM Heng said reducing food wastage was a very important part of Singapore's plan to boost food security. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - With the Government taking action to safeguard Singapore's food supply amid the current coronavirus pandemic, individuals can also do their part to further strengthen the country's resilience against global supply shocks, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Wednesday (April 1).

"Singapore has an adequate supply of food. But if we all rush, then however how much you have, you have a problem," Mr Heng told reporters after touring an aquaculture facility in Neo Tiew.

"When all of us are responsible, we take what we need, we don't waste and use it properly, then we can overcome this challenge quite well," he added.

Singapore has collaborated with nations around the world to diversify its food import sources. It has maintained a national stockpile and is also continuously investing in technology and research to boost the productivity of local farms.

DPM Heng said reducing food wastage was a very important part of Singapore's plan to boost food security.

He said: "We have to think about how we can reduce our own food waste. And in that way, we can meet our needs without an excessive strain on the system."

Mr Heng cited the example of a bakery which distributes unsold bread and cakes which are still fit for consumption to those in the neighbourhood who may need them.

"So that is the kind of spirit that I hope we all have in order to ensure the security of our food sources, to ensure that we have adequate supply," he said.

Mr Heng added that people could also consider diversifying their food choices to further guarantee supply.

"Indeed, I would encourage fellow Singaporeans and people in Singapore to explore different options and that way, by being open to a greater variety of food, it means that our imports, our new sources can be better accepted," he said.

Professor William Chen, the Michael Fam Chair Professor in Food Science and Technology at Nanyang Technological University, said Singapore's "fast and smooth response" in dealing with potential food supply disruptions amid the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak was a reflection of the Republic's strategic planning in diversification of food import sources.

But, echoing the DPM's remarks, he also said that consumers should not take food security for granted and learn to waste less food.

Prof Chen added that if the coronavirus crisis lasts for a few months, consumers could also consider eating more frozen food.

"Frozen food has a much longer shelf life than fresh produce, is equally nutritious, cheaper and has much less risk for pathogen contamination. Frozen food could well be a viable option for consumers if there is need for long-term food storage," he said.


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