SINGAPORE: The agri-food industry will receive a S$30 million boost to speed up the production of commonly consumed food items like eggs, vegetables and fish.
Called the 30x30 Express grant, it is aimed at further strengthening Singapore's food security, as part of its goal of meeting 30 per cent of the country's nutritional needs with food produced locally by 2030.
"The current COVID-19 situation underscores the importance of local food production, as part of Singapore’s strategies to ensure food security," said the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in a media release on Wednesday (Apr 8).
The open grant call will be launched in mid-April.
Local farmers producing eggs, leafy vegetables and fish will be invited to submit their proposals to "grow more and grow faster".
"The grant call will enable the Government to crowdsource and support ideas from the agri-food industry to develop innovative approaches to grow food productively and sustainably," said MEWR and SFA.
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Local farmers can use the grant to help defray the cost of accelerating production capacity within the next six to 24 months. This includes co-funding of productivity-enhancing technology systems.
In addition to increasing the country's capabilities to produce food locally, the agencies said the move could also create more jobs for Singaporeans in the agri-food industry and help local small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Aside from funding, different agencies are also looking to identify alternative farming spaces. For a start, a tender of rooftop spaces on HDB multi-storey car parks will be launched in May.
The latest efforts to increase local food production will be driven by a newly formed multi-agency taskforce led by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.
“Our three strategies of diversifying food imports, growing locally and growing overseas have served us well in ensuring Singapore’s food security, even during times of supply disruption," said Mr Masagos.
"The new 30x30 Express initiative is expected to push the envelope for local farming capacity, and accelerate our efforts to reach our 30x30 goal."