“Hungry go where?”
That is an existential question for Singaporeans. Afterall, our world-renowned food culture and neighbourhood-famous food stalls are national points of pride for important, very (finger-licking) good reasons.
An increasingly relevant answer then: “Lim Chu Kang, lor.”
That is where our nation’s future flagship agricultural centre is being built. In other words, Lim Chu Kang is where our Government is concentrating efforts — and quite literally planting seeds — to make sure our cai fan and nasi padang plates are full.
In fact, the Feeding our Future: Building an Agri-Food Hub for All exhibition at SAFRA Chua Chu Kang this past week (Sept 2-6) showcased just how Lim Chu Kang will feed Singapore.
Here’s a taster:
More protein-filled flavour for your breakfast toast and muffins, extra texture for your brownie bakes and healthy sides during dinners are coming, with Singapore’s fourth egg farm starting its Lim Chu Kang operations in 2024.
Source: Grace Fu / Facebook
Today, about one in three of the eggs which Singaporeans eat daily are laid locally. This will rise to one in two with the fourth farm operational; it will produce an impressive 360 million eggs annually thanks to how it leverages technology like the Internet of Things and climate control in order to produce more with less.
“I hope this will inspire more farms to invest in innovative solutions so that we can collectively contribute to Singapore’s #30by30 goal in a productive, climate-resilient and sustainable way,” posted Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu late last year (Oct 25), referring to how our Government has a long-term plan to have 30 per cent of Singapore’s food supplied locally.
Mushrooms, fish and green veggies on the plate
Fragrant mushrooms, healthy fish and crunchy veggies are also expected from Lim Chu Kang.
That is a heaping helping — and possible through a “stacked farm” approach where technological enhancements combine with modern and efficient farming techniques. Here, underground levels grow crops which need little light (mushrooms and other fungi) or can also be used to farm seafood.
Meanwhile, the levels above can grow vegetables in climate-controlled environments while the top level is best-suited for those needing natural sunlight, like cucumbers and tomatoes.
Source: Lawrence Wong / Facebook
“In order for local production to be viable, we really need to rely on technology. We will need to develop and adopt new technologies and farming methods that are suitable to our environment, both the dense urban environment as well as the cost, and make local production much more productive than it is today,” explained Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong when he opened the Feeding the Future exhibition.
A sustainable approach to farming and food resilience
Keeping Lim Chu Kang fertile and useful for future generations of Singaporeans also undergirds our Government’s plans. Afterall, our Party thinks long-term and champions environmental sustainability.
A big potential option for reducing energy use is a cross-district cooling facility to keep farms the right temperature; this will be energy efficient. A proposed centralised treatment facility for farm waste can additionally reduce Lim Chu Kang’s environmental impact.
These combine with the technologically innovative farming techniques and cultivating diverse food crops.
Source: Singapore Food Agency, Ching Wai Lum / Temasek Polytechnic
Together, all of them will ultimately help keep Singaporeans fed.
This is in a tense world of disrupted food supply chains from war and politics — and where the extreme weather conditions of climate change will also strike crop yields no matter the country.
“All this means is that global food supplies will remain volatile for the foreseeable future. There will be impact on Singapore. And as a small country reliant on imports for our food needs, we will have to adapt to this new reality,” said DPM Wong.
Lim Chu Kang will build up the nation’s food resilience in the face of this new reality. This is together with other Government strategies like importing food from more diverse sources, building up food stockpiles and personally encouraging Singaporeans to buy local produce.
“Let us work together to beat the odds again — to feed our future, to write a new chapter for our food story and to keep our Singapore Story going, for many more generations to come,” emphasised DPM Wong.
Like we mentioned at the start of this article, “hungry go where?” really is an existential question for Singaporeans. Our leaders are helping answer this and stewarding Singaporeans through while the nation goes forward.