COVID-19 pandemic highlights importance of strengthening Singapore's food security, say experts

From growing rice at sea to turning to microalgae as an alternative protein source – these are some of the ways Singapore could boost its homegrown food production in the future as it looks to improve its food security. The coronavirus outbreak, as well as resulting lockdowns to stop its spread, has helped put a spotlight on the issue, said Prof Chen, who is also Michael Fam chair professor at NTU. At the time, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing noted that Singapore had contingency plans for a disruption of supplies from Malaysia, which included national stockpiles, building up its own capabilities and diversification of its sources. Prof Chen also highlighted how governments may choose to keep supply chains open, as exports of food and other essential items are a significant source of revenue for these countries. And with the opening of an 18ha Agri-Food Innovation Park in Sungei Kadut next year – dedicated to high-tech farming as well as research and development in the sector – Singapore aims to stake its own claim in the S$5 trillion agri-tech industry. This has the least impact on the environment and is the most sustainable way of farming, keeping our soil healthy and productive for future generations,” he said. He pointed to figures released by the National Environment Agency on Wednesday that showed that food waste made up 20 per cent – or 600,000 tonnes – of the three million tonnes of waste generated here last year.

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