POSTED 15 Apr 2019 - 12:26

What would be key to Singapore achieving its "30 by 30" local food production target?

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How do you see the prospects of agri-tech as a new growth sector for the economy?
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Top Response

Adam A Lyle, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Padang & Co

Global population will grow to almost 10 billion by 2050. That's 10 billion reasons to invest in agritech... The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations forecasts that we would need a 70 per cent increase in food production to sustain this population. Given that agriculture...

Responses

Maren Schweizer, Director, Schweizer World Pte Ltd
13 May 2019 - 09:55

A structured set of technology, data-driven innovative supply chain, consumer perception, and partnerships is the key to achieve our 30 per cent local food production target.

We shall focus on highly industrialised indoor farming for vegetables and using sea-space for modern aquaculture. Vegies and fish are significant components, while fish serves as a versatile protein source and high nutritional value product. Farms should use seawater and sea-space, not scarce land and valuable fresh water. Traditional farming methods must be replaced by highly automated digitised processes, on par with Industry 4.0 levels. Big data analytics and predictions by AI can top the intuition of a seasoned farmer.

The entire supply chain landscape from genetics, hatcheries, nutrition, farming methods to processing and logistics would need to be overhauled and "synchronised". Therefore companies require talents with data literacy.

We as consumers shall contribute to C02 reduction by choosing sustainably produced food. Therefore education is most important.

Singapore is well positioned to set an example as an urban yet ocean-based farming centre and export these living lab business models at a later stage.

Partnerships between local companies and industrial tech companies as well as government agencies and academia are a prerequisite to successfully develop new business models.

Yeoh Oon Jin, Executive Chairman, PwC Singapore
6 May 2019 - 09:53

Producing more food within Singapore is essential for a robust Food Security Strategy, similar to how we have built a successful model around local water production.

However, to produce 30 per cent of its food needs by 2030 ("30 by 30"), Singapore needs to get innovative about how it produces this food, especially if it wants to produce food in a sustainable and profitable manner. Creative solutions with a focus on investment in new and advanced production technologies such as indoor, closed-systems farming; higher-value food to justify production costs; the use of data and robotics; genetically modified organisms and synthetic proteins, as well as regional partnerships, will be key. This could include public-private partnerships, or even collaborating with other countries to offshore some of the new production, with Singapore being a hub for new technologies. Advancements can be a partnership between government and the private sector. This could be a case of attracting investment from large global players and investors or the building of large Singaporean groups focused on the space - in essence creating a thriving ecosystem for all - including SMEs and startups.

Adam A Lyle, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Padang & Co
6 May 2019 - 09:35

Global population will grow to almost 10 billion by 2050. That's 10 billion reasons to invest in agritech... The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations forecasts that we would need a 70 per cent increase in food production to sustain this population. Given that agriculture contributes over 25 per cent of carbon emissions we can't feed future generations in the same way.

Adoption of agritech utilising big data, sensors and IoT to drive precision agriculture will be a big part of the solution to increase agricultural productivity dramatically while significantly reducing environmental impact. Singapore is ideally located to support such initiatives across Asean. Plant-based protein alternatives and lab-grown meat will also have their role in meeting these global challenges.

"30 by 30" is ambitious but doable. Current private initiatives and government support provides confidence but it will require ongoing investment, focus and collaboration amongst all ecosystem participants. Singapore shines when presented with BHAGs.

Narinder Kapoor, Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Asia-Pacific
26 Apr 2019 - 17:21

Food security and sustainability are fast becoming global challenges. There is pressure to produce more with less in order to meet the world's growing demand for food. As Singapore looks to become more self-sufficient, technology can play a key role. By tapping into agriculture technology, such as precision agriculture and smart farming, we can increase crop yields while making the agriculture industry more efficient and sustainable.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise believes that technology can help meet the sustainability challenges of the world's food production systems. That is why HPE is collaborating with the World Economic Forum under our Tech Impact 2030 initiative to bring together industry, technology, academia and government to power meaningful change by 2030. If applied innovatively, technology can transform the agriculture industry and power real societal improvements.

Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS)
17 Apr 2019 - 14:03

In land-scarce Singapore, adoption of technologies is the way forward to boost the urban farming landscape and optimise our limited resources. Coordinated effort by the government and private sector in the areas of industry and enterprise development, R&D, manpower and regulations to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural products is key to spurring greater interest and growth opportunities in the agri-tech and food sector, while also improving the environment.

REDAS sees the possibilities of developers integrating agri-tech farming in their developments. In this connection, we have partnered with the Singapore Food Agency to pilot rooftop urban farming at REDAS' premises at Singapore Shopping Centre.

With active public-private collaboration, continued research funding and support to develop the relevant talent and expertise in this field, agri-tech is well positioned to be a growth sector for the economy, ensuring the nation's success in achieving its "30 by 30" local food production target.

Kenny Yap, Kim-Lee Executive Chairman & MD, Qian Hu Corporation Ltd
17 Apr 2019 - 13:53

When my family started exporting ornamental fish back in the early 1990s, many people told us that agriculture was a sunset industry. However, we didn't take heed because we believed that there was no such thing as a sunset industry - the sun would always come out. It was a mindset problem.

It is highly possible that agri-technology can be the new growth sector for the Singapore economy. Just look at Israel - they have all the constraints such as deserts and arid climate, but yet they are one of the world's most advanced countries in terms of agriculture and aquaculture. They even have enough surplus primary produce for export.

Thus what we need is creativity and innovation in using technology to overcome our physical constraints. However, not all the primary produce should be cultivated in Singapore - we must be selective and pragmatic, taking into consideration cost effectiveness and domestic comparative advantages. Of course, the ease of acquiring land or space, as well as the employment of suitable skilled workers, local or foreign, can make or break such initiatives.

Albert Phuay Yong Hen, Chairman and Group CEO, Excelpoint Technology Ltd
17 Apr 2019 - 13:48

AS the Chinese idiom goes, "Wei yu chou mou" ("Prepare for a rainy day"). Given Singapore's land scarcity, we cannot accommodate large-scale traditional agriculture for food production; hence our heavy reliance on imported food. It is thus timely that we plan ahead to ensure a sustainable food supply through self-sufficiency and progressively reduce dependence on imports. To achieve the target, it is important to:

Create a conducive ecosystem that includes government support, community's acceptance towards embracing agri-tech, and expertise in multiple disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, agriculture and finance.

Leverage on R&D and new technologies such as Internet of Things, robotics, automation and sensors to establish high-tech controlled environments and derive optimum factors for food production. This will ensure a consistent yield, as well as increase climate resilience and food quality.

Focus on the self-production of selected food items.

With increased spotlight on and advancements in agriculture technologies, Singapore can harness opportunities in the agri-tech industry, and develop sustainable solutions that can meet both domestic and global food needs for generations to come. This promising industry will help create jobs and add economic value as well. At Excelpoint, we have also identified smart agriculture as one of our key focus areas, and we are working closely with our partners to develop value-added solutions to address food sustainability issues.

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