Written reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Rooftop Farms, on 4 November 2020
Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment with regard to the “30 by 30” goal to secure Singapore’s food needs (a) how many HDB rooftop farming sites does SFA intend to set up in the next ten years; (b) what is the expected yield from these sites; and (c) whether SFA will consider incorporating in the tenders for these sites a requirement to engage the community as well.
1 Singapore aims to achieve our “30 by 30” goal to locally produce 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030, using about 1% of our land. Besides making productive use of our agri-land, such as at Lim Chu Kang, agencies are identifying alternative spaces to repurpose for commercial scale urban farming, including the rooftops of HDB Multi-Storey Carparks (MSCPs). Commercial farming in alternative spaces contributes to food security as it activates pockets of under-utilised space for productive farming.
2 Following the launch of the pilot MSCP urban farm Citiponics in 2019, interest from the industry and public towards urban farming in community spaces has grown. SFA and HDB awarded the first tender of nine MSCP sites in September 2020 to successful tenderers with innovative and high productivity proposals, such as vertical and climate-controlled farming systems. This is in line with HDB’s Green Towns Programme to intensify greening in HDB estates. As urban farms operating from MSCPs are expected to contribute to Singapore’s “30 by 30” goal, farms must commit to and meet a high volume of production. Collectively, the successful tenderers from the first tender can produce up to 1,600 tonnes of vegetables annually.
3 SFA and HDB are identifying more suitable MSCP rooftops that can be converted for food production and will launch a second tender of sites in the coming months. Agencies will continue to identify more potential MSCP sites and make them available, depending on the level of industry interest.
4 Besides contributing to food security, urban farming in spaces such as MSCP rooftops benefits the community. For example, these commercial farms may offer employment opportunities for residents. They bring the community closer to local production, thereby raising awareness and support for local produce.
5 With the ramp up in local production towards the “30 by 30” goal, we will need the support of all Singaporeans to buy local produce. Local produce is grown close to our homes, and is therefore fresher, lasts longer and is more sustainable as it incurs lower carbon miles. By choosing locally-produced food, we can all play a part in contributing to Singapore’s food security and save the planet too.