Singapore Promotes Agricultural Innovation with Ambitious Plan for Self-Sufficiency in Food Production

Singapore Skyline and view of Marina Bay at Dusk
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With an agenda first presented in March 2019, the Singaporean government is taking numerous measures in the agribusiness sector to free itself from its dependence on imports and be able to provide its population with an adequate amount of sustainably produced food.

Food production challenges

As a city-state, Singapore is characterized above all by its densely populated urban structure, where little space is left for agriculture. Only one percent of Singapore’s 724 square kilometers is currently used for agriculture, and production costs are extremely high compared to other states in the region.

The country produces only about 10 percent of its own food and imports the remaining portion in order to be able to guarantee its population of 5.6 million people enough food with sufficient variety.

“30-by-30” plan

Against the backdrop of climate change and a steadily growing global population, the country wants to free itself from this dependency and stop relying so heavily on imported products for the food security of its inhabitants.

With its “30-by-30” plan, the country has set itself the ambitious goal of increasing its proportion of self-produced food to 30 percent by 2030 through creative measures and innovations in technology and research.

Extensive government funding for innovation and research

In particular, innovative ideas in food production are to be used and further developed for this purpose. The land problem of the island state is being circumvented by more than 30 existing vertical farming facilities, which increase the usable space for growing fruit and vegetables.

In order to implement these ideas, the government is providing 144 million Singaporean dollars (104 million US dollars) for research and development in the food sector and 63 million Singaporean dollars for the technological equipment of agricultural operations for increased productivity.

World’s first company working on lab-grown shrimp

Whilst Singapore has already made substantial investments in the research and development of clean meat, the start-up Shiok Meats has set itself the ambitious goal of being able to offer the world’s first laboratory-grown shrimps in the near future. Shiok has been supported in its endeavour by Henry Soesanto, CEO of the Filipino Monde Nissin Corp., which in turn owns the British meat replacement company Quorn.

With the $4.6 million in funding the company has received this year, co-founder Sandhya Sriram plans to launch the product in one or two gourmet restaurants by the end of 2020. By 2030, the company should be producing enough shrimp for the entire population of Singapore.