S’pore’s agri-food plan is not only gonna make our food shiok, but also our future

There’s a third certainty in life: Singapore’s food is shiok.

Our hawker culture’s in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) intangible cultural heritage list ok?

To keep this shiok quotient up, Singapore is focusing on strengthening our food security and sustainability.

Like redeveloping Lim Chu Kang into a high-tech agri-food cluster, as Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu shared at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit this Wednesday (Oct 26).

And growing tech that creates yummy alternative proteins, like Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted at the Singapore International Agri-Food Week Gala Dinner the same day.

These events were part of the Government-supported Singapore International Agri-Food Week (SIAW), which helps global industry leaders build a vibrant agri-food ecosystem in Asia.

A lush Lim Chu Kang

Lim Chu Kang already hosts most of Singapore’s farms. It was announced this week that a fourth egg farm will begin operations in 2024 on about 10 hectares in Lim Chu Kang.

Redeveloping Lim Chu Kang across 390 hectares of land; that can triple the area’s food output in an eco-friendly manner.

Source: Grace Fu Facebook

“Sustainability elements will be incorporated in the plan,” noted Minister Fu about augmenting a more fruitful Lim Chu Kang with resource-efficient features like common facilities for logistics and waste management.

“Circularity will be part of the planning framework, to encourage the by-products of farms to be used as inputs for other parts of the agri-food ecosystem.”

Technology too, with the Government already partnering schools and the industry to train workers in the farming industry overall with skills needed for the world’s fourth agricultural revolution.  

“For example, Republic Polytechnic offers the Diploma in Environmental & Marine Science, which trains students to develop sustainable environmental and aquaculture solutions to address challenges posed by climate change, including reduced agricultural and seafood yields and disease outbreaks,” said Minister Fu.

Lim Chu Kang’s redevelopment is also taking place while the S$60 million Agri-food Cluster Transformation (ACT) Fund and the S$144 million Singapore Food Story R&D programme help farmers be more productive and sustainable. About S$3.8 million of the ACT Fund currently supports 13 projects.

“Singapore has been actively supporting the adoption of such technology and innovations in our agri-food industry,” said Minister Fu.

Alternative proteins and the Singapore Food Story

Meanwhile, Singapore’s partnering with Swiss fragrance company Givaudan to setup a local foodtech Taste and Colour Lab to improve alternative proteins.

So that’s taste-tests anytime they’re needed. Must confirm this alternative protein is not jialat. But can jiak.

“The Taste and Colour Lab will help Foodtech companies here co-create better taste and colour for their products, so that they more closely resemble traditional meats and cater to different taste buds in the region,” said DPM Heng.

Source: DPM Heng Facebook

In other words, sustainability fo yo satay.

“Alternative proteins are potentially more sustainable compared to traditional cattle and poultry farming, consuming much less water and arable land, with a smaller carbon footprint,” noted the DPM.

“Singapore is anchoring key global players for alternative proteins here. We are also developing our own local players, such as Shiok Meats, Esco Aster and Next Gen Foods. Over time, we can develop more products for the region,” he added.

“Our goal is to increase the resilience and productivity of our farming sector, with better yield and business continuity for our farmers.”

A Temasek-backed partnership for decarbonising the region’s rice industry (through agritech, climate tech and venture funding) is in the works concurrently. Also dairy-free foodtech milk products from Temasek’s sustainable food company Nurasa.

“We are doubling down on the Singapore Food Story to strengthen our food resilience goals,” said DPM Heng about the Government’s S$300 million total investment to develop local aquaculture and urban agriculture as well as future foods and food safety.

“But our scientists and innovators do go beyond improving food production in a highly urban tropical environment. R&D efforts here also contribute to the food needs of the region and the world, through strong partnerships.”

That all means that meals here are getting sustainable, Singapore-style. Extra veggies for our plates, yo!

Cover photo credit: SFA Youtube