Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Urban Farming
Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment whether the Ministry will consider allowing some of the multi-storey car parks in Fernvale constituency to be used for urban farming by residents.
Urban farms situated on the rooftops of HDB Multi-Storey Carparks (MSCPs) activate pockets of vacant urban spaces for productive farming, thereby contributing to the “30 by 30” goal to locally produce 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030. SFA and HDB held the first tender of MSCP sites for commercial urban farming in May 2020. The tender proposals were evaluated on a competitive basis and successful companies were subsequently awarded in Sep 2020. As these farms are expected to contribute to the “30 by 30” goal, they must commit to and meet a high volume of production. We are heartened by the support and interest from the industry and public for the first commercial urban farming tender, and a second tender has recently been launched.
SFA and HDB consider multiple factors in the identification of suitable MSCP sites for commercial urban farming. These include the utilisation rate of the MSCPs, the loading rooftops can bear, the availability of water and electricity supply, as well as the current and future developments of the surrounding HDB blocks. This approach is intended to unlock such alternative urban spaces for food production without compromising the residents’ needs for parking spaces, while ensuring that urban farms situated on MSCP rooftops are safe and have access to adequate supporting infrastructure to conduct operations. Agencies will assess the suitability of MSCP sites in Fernvale, along with other sites in various HDB estates, when identifying new urban farming sites for tender.
In addition, residents who wish to participate in growing edible plants on a recreational basis can do so through a variety of means. For example, they may take up home gardening, rent allotment garden plots from NParks, or start or join community gardens in their neighbourhood. NParks will continue to work with HDB, Town Councils, Residents’ Committees and Neighbourhood Committees to encourage the setting up of more community gardens, including at suitable MSCP rooftop sites or by converting parts of the common green in estates to community gardens.