When you think of a highly urbanised city, would you associate agriculture as one of its pillar of economy?

Well, one ASEAN Member State’s quest to ensure food security may now change your lens on how you would think about agriculture in the future.

In 2019, Singapore announced its bold ambition to produce 30% of total food needs by 2030, also known as the “30 by 30 strategy”. Its current production level is 10%. The emphasis on food security came then as climate change was gaining increasing attention globally.

Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli had also spoken about the adverse impact of climate change on food production around the world, and how even with a robust and diverse supply chain of food sources, food security would still be impacted. The advent of COVID-19 had further heightened the gravity of enhancing food security.

Here’s how this City State is intending to achieve this:

1. Supporting a new generation of Indoor Vegetable Farms

In 2013, Singapore approved the first licence for an indoor vegetable farm to take root in Singapore. The indoor vegetable farm, operated by Panasonic Factory Solution Asia-Pacific, was converted from a manufacturing facility. Using a concoction of light intensity, humidity and other conditions, including music (yes, music!), Panasonic is constantly building on its research to shorten the time from seed to harvest.

Vegetable farm atop a multistorey carpark in a residential estate. Source: Citiponics

One such vegetable farm in Ang Mo Kio estate could reap in a monthly harvest of 4,000kg of vegetables.

3. Getting every Singaporean to be a farmer at their homes

You would probably be laughing at this header and trying to google search your way to fact-check this. But it’s true!

Besides announcing that the government would double the number of community gardens from 1,500 to 3,000 across the island state, it is distributing vegetable seeds to all households to encourage them to grow their own food.

The Government is giving seeds containing one type of leafy vegetable, one kind of fruit plant and instructions in four languages on how to plant them to each household. Source: National Parks Board, Singapore

Singapore is resolute in resolving its food security challenges. And with any challenge, innovation is born. Singapore might well have a solution for the world in time to come. If a highly urbanised city state can develop its own agriculture economy without the traditional huge plots of lands that would come to mind, then anything is possible.

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