SINGAPORE: Nine companies have been awarded grants totalling S$39.4 million under a scheme to strengthen Singapore's food security, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said on Wednesday (Sep 9).
Announced in April, the 30x30 Express grant supports efforts to boost the production of commonly consumed food items like eggs, vegetables and fish.
It is part of a goal to meet 30 per cent of Singapore's nutritional needs with food produced locally by 2030, in order to adapt to the country's long-term challenges, including climate change, disruptions to supply chains and resources, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
SFA said it received more than 40 proposals by the end of the open grant call at the end of May.
The proposals by the nine selected companies "incorporated highly productive farming systems that can be constructed and implemented quickly to achieve high production levels", the agency said.
"The proposals also demonstrated good potential to successfully implement the projects based on the company’s track record, farming experience and project team," SFA added.
The original S$30 million budget was increased to support these proposals.
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SFA said that seven of the nine awardees have accepted the grant, including six vegetable farms and Chew’s Agriculture, an egg farm.
One of the vegetable farms, ComCrop, will expand its current Woodlands site to include greenhouses equipped with robotic growing systems to optimise space efficiency and reduce manpower.
I.F.F.I, another recipient, will set up an indoor vegetable farm with a vertical integration growth system of up to 8m in height, employing both soil-based and hydroponics cultivation methods in a fully controlled, pesticide-free environment.
Chew’s Agriculture will construct additional houses to ramp up its production of hen shell eggs. The houses will be equipped with an integrated climate control system along with egg and manure collection systems, minimising egg breakage and maximising egg production.
“While we continue to plan to tackle our long-term challenges, we also need to respond swiftly to the immediate global food supply challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu.
"Supporting our agri-food industry and augmenting their production capabilities remains a key strategy in strengthening Singapore’s food supply resilience."
Ms Fu on Tuesday visited ComCrop and I.F.F.I. The grant will give the companies "an added boost to adopt highly productive farming systems to ramp up production over the next 6 to 24 months", she said in a Facebook post.
"We will continue to work with the agri-food industry and support them to grow more and grow faster to enhance our food security," said Lim Kok Thai, CEO of SFA.
"We urge consumers to support our local farms and buy local produce, which can be identified easily by our new SG Fresh Produce logo,” Mr Lim added.