SINGAPORE: The Lim Chu Kang area is set to be transformed into a high-tech agri-food cluster, in a move that will strengthen Singapore’s food security and also create jobs for Singaporeans.
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) announced the master plan exercise on Friday (Oct 2), saying that the redeveloped Lim Chu Kang agri-food cluster should be able to produce more than three times its current food production when completed.
The agency plans to look into the development of shared facilities to lower production costs and resource use, as well as put in place the water, electricity and transport infrastructure needed to support high-tech farming systems on the 390 ha land.
This will also attract a “new generation” of agri-tech skilled workers, said SFA, adding that these initiatives are in response to feedback from the industry.
While agri-food production will be the key focus of the master plan exercise, “relevant elements” such as farmers’ markets and education tours will also be considered, said SFA.
“While we will continue to identify alternative spaces to produce food, such as the rooftops of HDB multi-storey car parks, we will need to optimise and intensify our agriculture land to grow more with less,” said SFA in a media release.
“The redevelopment of agriculture land in Lim Chu Kang allows us to uplift the local agri-food sector, and develop sustainable, highly productive and industry-leading farms of the future,” it added.
Under the’30 by 30’ target, the Government aims to produce 30 per cent of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030. This is up from less than 10 per cent today, said SFA.
“We currently import more than 90 per cent of our food supply, which makes us vulnerable to disruptions in global supply chains. The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic has underscored the importance of ensuring that we have diversified sources and resilient food supply chains,” said SFA.
READ: COVID-19 pandemic highlights importance of strengthening Singapore's food security, say experts
The master plan, undertaken in consultation with stakeholders, is expected to be completed over the next two to three years.
Meanwhile, development works, which will be carried out in phases, are slated to start in 2024.
MORE THAN THREE TIMES ITS CURRENT FOOD PRODUCTION
The redeveloped Lim Chu Kang should be able to produce more than three times its current food production, said SFA on Friday.
While an average vegetable farm in Singapore produces about 130 tonnes of vegetables per hectare per year on 2ha of land, a high-tech, high-productivity version will be able to produce more than 1,000 tonnes per hectare per year on less than 1 ha of land, SFA said.
“This will contribute substantially to the ’30 by 30’ goal, and efforts to ensure food security for Singaporeans,” it said.
All farms in the Lim Chu Kang area will be able to stay to the end of their leases.
READ: New S$30 million grant to help Singapore farms speed up production of eggs, vegetables and fish
Twenty-three farms, whose leases are expiring between 2020 and 2022, will be offered a short tenancy extension before SFA redevelops the land. Three farms whose leases expire between 2026 and 2027 will be allowed to remain there until their leases expire.
SFA and the National Parks Board (NParks) will work closely with these farms to support their transition.
The master plan does not encroach on the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network, said SFA, adding that it will conduct an environmental study by the end of this year to “better understand the ecosystem of flora and fauna in the area”.
It will work with nature groups on the study, and the findings will be taken into consideration in the master plan, it said.