Singapore to host leading agricultural event

Land-scarce Singapore is far from being a farming society.

Yet it will be sharing its use of innovative practices such as self-watering vertical farming technology and "agri-tainment" - the merging of agricultural production with recreational activities - when it hosts the world's leading agricultural conference in November.

It is also the first time that the biennial event, called the Commonwealth Agricultural Conference, will be held in Asia.

Singapore outbid Canada - the fifth-largest agricultural exporter in the world - to host the event. Previous host countries include Australia and Zambia.

Now in its 27th year, the conference will see over 300 delegates from across Europe, Africa and Australasia discussing the latest trends in agriculture, food and nutrition, and the gap between rural and urban farming. It is organised by Singapore's Kranji Countryside Association and the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth.

Singapore may seem an unlikely host for such an event, but the association says the country has a lot to offer in terms of agricultural technology as well as research and development.

Association president Kenny Eng said: "Singapore has untapped potential as a global agri-hub that fuses food security, food research, food trade and food tourism."

Given that Singapore is so reliant on food imports, it should be at the centre of discussions on food supply and environmental sustainability, he added.

The conference will be held from Nov 2 to 4 and is open to the public. Entry is priced at $280 a day, or $800 for all three days, for Singapore-based delegates.

There will also be visits to farms including goat farm Hay Dairies and fruit and vegetable farm-bistro Bollywood Veggies.

Speakers include international and local experts such as Dr Ngiam Tong Tau, a veterinarian and former chief executive of the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority. His talk is on sustainable farming in a city-state.

Dr Ngiam, also chairman of the organising committee, said: "In Singapore, what we are demonstrating or what we hope to showcase, is that we can farm on very little land, and that it is a viable business."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore to host leading agricultural event'. Subscribe