Delve into the wondrous world of agritech in Singapore, and discover our nation’s growth in high-tech farming.

Since our independence, Singapore has had to overcome our lack of natural resources through grit, ingenuity and dynamism.

The same holds true for the future when it comes to our food sources. Currently, our global metropolis imports the vast majority of our food from all across the world.

In the future, however, this may no longer be feasible. Climate change and its various effects may lead to dwindling crops and animal produce in many countries, endangering our sources of food.

To weather the coming storm, our local farmers have been stepping up their game, with technological innovations and ingenious new agricultural methods.

These days, our produce not only sprouts up from Singaporean soil, but is grown high up on rooftops, and nurtured in the depths of our tropical waters.

The world of agritech is one of limitless possibilities. Here’s a small taste of what the future holds for produce proudly grown in Singapore.

Credit: Above image by Sustenir

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Food for thought

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has established a $30 million “30x30 Express” grant to support the agri-food industry to ramp up local production in eggs, leafy vegetables, and fish in the shortest possible time.

Agri-what?

What exactly is agritech?

While it may sound complicated, Agritech is merely the fusion of the words ‘agriculture’ and ‘technology’. Phrased simply, it’s the use of technology to aid efforts in farming.

Think of the word ‘farm’, and you’ll probably imagine herds of cows and sheep spread across rolling green pastures, or terraced padi fields of rice.

But thanks to advancements in technology, land-scarce nations like Singapore can find ingenious and highly efficient ways to grow our own produce.

These range from high-tech indoor farms — which can produce up to 10 times the crops of conventional farm — to multi-storey fish farms that rely on automation to improve yield.

'30 by 30'… and beyond!

What are our goals for growing our own food?

As a country, we’ve set an ambitious goal named ’30 by 30’, which aims to have Singapore produce 30 percent of our nation’s nutritional needs by 2030.

As of 2019, our country imports more than 90% of our food, making us hugely dependent on more than 170 countries and regions from where we get our food.

Currently, 26% of hen shell eggs, 14% of leafy vegetables and 10% of fish are produced locally, and that number is set to increase over the coming years. By tapping into advances in agricultural technology, we’re hoping to grow more with less, and bridge the gap between our current yields and our target for the coming decade.

Tasting is believing

I’ve never bought local produce…why start now?

Singapore has long had a reputation for quality wares and stellar services, and the same holds true for produce nurtured on our soil.

Tasting is believing, and there are numerous reasons why you should consider trying out home-grown produce for yourself, ranging from freshness and quality to eco-friendliness.

Five fascinating farming facts

While we haven’t gotten to the point where super-intelligent robots are harvesting our kale and nurturing our barramundi, we’re certainly making great strides in harnessing technology to improve our farming.

Here are just some of our local farms which are employing innovative new methods of data collection, cutting-edge technology and dynamic new space-saving measures.

Veggies nurtured by A.I.

Companies like VertiVegies employ smart sensors to detect various parameters such as temperature, humidity and light levels and then automatically adjust them to optimise the environment for growing each type of vegetable.

Data-driven fish farms

Local fish farm Blue Aqua International Group is developing software that will let them track water quality and the health of their fish, thus increasing their yield. The company rears a whole range of different fish, including grouper, pompano and tilapia.

Homegrown Japanese greens

Our tropical climates are normally unsuitable for growing Japanese crops like Karashina leaves and wasabina mustard greens. But local farm Edible Garden City is testing ways to grow these crops in Singapore, via a climate-controlled container farm using tools such as sensor technology and data monitoring systems.

From rooftop carpark to fertile farm

Land size and space constraints are significant hurdles to face when it comes to farming in Singapore. Citiponics has managed to overcome this by growing their crops from the rooftop of a carpark in Ang Mo Kio, bringing farming to Singapore’s heartlands.

A diverse bounty of crops

Local hydroponics farm Sustenir has succeeded in cultivating non-native produce on Singaporean soil, such as kale, arugula and even strawberries. These fruits and vegetables are grown indoors in a controlled environment with artificial lighting.

Excited to try local produce? Keep your eye out for the SG Fresh Produce logo at supermarkets, restaurants and eateries all across the island.

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