Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Agri-Food Sector by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment how is the Government supporting agri-tech start-ups and other SMEs that focus on growing food locally.
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment how advanced technology such as blockchain technology and automated climate control is utilised to support our urban agriculture.
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment what further plans are there to drive innovation and collaboration among the agri-food sector and to attract more students from institutes of higher learning into that sector, in our country’s bid to increase its food security and resilience.
1 In land and resource scarce Singapore, we need to ‘grow more with less’, in a productive, climate-resilient and resource-efficient way. Technology and innovation are key enablers. In 2019, we launched the $144 million Singapore Food Story (SFS) R&D Programme, which has since supported 50 projects in various areas.
2 Fresh funding of $165 million has been allocated for SFS 2.0, which will have a greater emphasis on food security challenges and enhancing food safety amidst the emergence of novel food. SFA will also collaborate with Temasek Foundation to co-present a Food Grand Challenge. The Food Grand Challenge will focus on supporting disruptive circular urban agriculture, aquaculture solutions, as well as alternative protein innovations.
3 The deployment of advanced technologies is essential for our agri-food industry to maximise productivity amid our land and manpower constraints. For instance, Sustenir Agriculture is an indoor farm that uses controlled-environment agriculture to ensure optimal conditions for plant growth. Fish farms such as Singapore Aquaculture Technologies and Blue Aqua are tapping on artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor and optimise fish growth.
4 EnterpriseSG also helps to catalyse innovation and scalable solutions in the agri-food sector by providing support for agri-food enterprises from start-up to scale up. They have anchored five global agri-food accelerators and one local life sciences accelerator, for example Big Idea Ventures and GROW, under the Startup SG accelerator programme.
5 Sustaining a workforce pipeline is also an important strategy to realise “30 by 30”. SFA works closely with our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) and the industry to build a pipeline of talent for the sector and upskill our existing workforce. For example, Republic Polytechnic offers the Diploma in Environmental & Marine Science, which trains students to develop sustainable environmental and aquaculture solutions.