With the goal of producing 30 per cent of its food needs by 2030, Singapore is rethinking, and remaking, farming. The agriculture and food industries are leveraging the country’s strengths in technological innovation and infrastructural efficiency to increase food production. The Eco-Ark, one of the world’s first floating closed-containment fish farms, was commissioned last week. The structure can produce 166 tonnes of fish a year, maximising yield by protecting stock from the dangers of plankton bloom and oil spills while saving on trucking costs by being located on the very resource it needs for operations. Singapore-based laboratory Shiok Meats cultivated shrimp meat from stem cells. While the inaugural batch of eight dumplings cost $5,000 to produce, it is only a matter of time before the price drops and mass production is possible. A new research outfit, the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation, will also be set up next year to explore areas of agricultural and food sciences.
These developments are not only encouraging for national targets, but also critical as the region, and the world, face increasing challenges in feeding growing populations. Already, 800 million people live in hunger and a third of the world’s arable land has been lost due to unsustainable farming practices. Farmers here already use innovations such as vertical farms, and tech start-ups are pursuing lab-grown protein alternatives.