The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has awarded S$39.4 million (~US $29.3 million) to nine urban farming companies as part of the country’s “30×30 Express” grant.
The grant program was launched earlier this year to boost local food production to fend itself from external supply shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to meet 30% of the country’s food demand – up from the current 10% – by the year 2030.
Ms. Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, said: “While we continue to plan to tackle our long-term challenges, we also need to respond swiftly to the immediate global food supply challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘30×30 Express’ grant 2 call was announced by SFA in April this year and awarded within months. Our aim is to ramp up local food production in the next six to 24 months. Supporting our agri-food industry and augmenting their production capabilities remains a key strategy in strengthening Singapore’s food supply resilience.”
The nine urban farms were chosen based on:
- certainty and speed of implementation;
- level of production and productivity;
- project feasibility and economic viability; and,
- track record, capability and capacity to execute the project.
Some plan to focus on AI solutions, such as for monitoring the growth of vegetables and environmental control systems.
The SFA has also introduced a new food labelling system so that buyers can easily spot food items in supermarkets that have been locally produced.
“There is urgency for us to accelerate local production to reduce our reliance on imports and provide a buffer during supply disruptions, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding from the ‘30×30 Express’ grant will give the awarded companies an added boost to ramp up their food production capacity. We will continue to work with the agri-food industry and support them to grow more and grow faster to enhance our food security. At the same time, we urge consumers to support our local farms and buy local produce, which can be identified easily by our new SG Fresh Produce logo,” said Mr. Lim Kok Thai, chief executive officer of SFA.