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                 SINGAPORE AGRI-FOOD BUSINESS DIRECTORY 2021/2022
 Diversifying
import sources
The source diversification strategy has been serving Singapore well over the years, helping to weather through short term disruptions that have occasionally arisen from supply shortages overseas from time to time. Thanks to diversified sources and a national stockpile of essentials, Singapore imported over 90% of its food needs in 2019 from over 170 countries, assuring the public that it can weather any disruption.
“We have proven resilient to such disruptions, largely thanks to the astute planning of then-AVA (Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority), and the logistics and connectivity of our transport network,” said the then Minister for Environment and Water Resources Mr Masagos Zulkifli when he launched the ‘2020: Singapore Food Story’ on 10 February 2020.
It was highlighted that importers have also done well in continually diversifying their sources, so that when one supply source is hit, they could activate alternatives to make up the shortfall. This included recent episodes where Singaporeans rushed to stock up on essential food and household items, after the disease outbreak response level to COVID-19 was raised on 7 February 2020, and when Malaysia announced a Movement Control Order (MCO) that came into effect on 18 March 2020. Despite the panic buying, the Singapore Government was able to confidently declare food sufficiency for everyone.
To keep diversified food supply lines intact, Singapore partnered with like-minded countries to keep trade links open. In March 2020, amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Lao PDR, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore and Uruguay affirmed their commitment to maintain open and connected supply chains.
Nevertheless, with ongoing climate change, disease outbreaks, human-related disasters, and population growth, Singapore has had to up its game plan to increase local production.
As such, the MSE and SFA have devoted their efforts to the strategy of local production.
Increasing
local production
The strategy of increasing local production kickstarted in 2019 with the ‘30×30’ goal — to produce30%ofSingapore’snutritionalneeds on local soil by 2030.
For such an endeavour that aims to meet the ‘30×30’ goal using less than 1% of local land, agri-food businesses in Singapore need the boost in innovative solutions and production capabilities. To help local farmers ramp up the production of their crops, SFA has introduced funding schemes.
For example, the S$63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF) co-funds farming systems to better control environmental variables and boost production capabilities. The enhanced APF expands its scheme into Basic Capability Upgrading (BCU) Scheme that supports the purchase of equipment that
would help increase a farm’s productivity;
Productivity Enhancement (PE) Scheme
that supports the adoption of automated, advanced and integrated farming systems as well as co-fund test-bedding of technologies; Cash Advancement to help ease cash flow for APF projects with approved funding of S$30,000 and above. As of 30 September 2019, APF has already benefitted 107 farms for produce including vegetables, seafood and eggs.
A S$30 million ‘30x30 Express’ Grant was launched in mid-April 2020 to support the agri-food industry to ramp up local production in eggs, leafy vegetables, and fish in the shortest possible time. In September 2020, SFA increased its original S$30 million budget to close to S$40 million, to support the proposals that had been awarded, as part of efforts to support the growth of local agri-food enterprises and accelerate the ramp up in local food production over the next 6 to 24 months.
Local production is an important strategy in ensuring food supply resilience for Singapore. It complements the strategy of source diversification and ensures a degree of self- sufficiency for key food items such as eggs, fish and leafy vegetables. Locally grown food production will also provide Singapore with a buffer against supply disruptions.
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