SINGAPORE: Three bidders have won the right to rent seven new urban farming sites located on the rooftops of Housing and Development Board (HDB) multi-storey carparks around Singapore.
The new sites comprise a single farming plot at Jurong West and three cluster sites containing two farming plots each at Bukit Panjang, Sembawang and Woodlands, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and HDB said on Friday (Sep 24).
Together, these sites are expected to produce about 680 tonnes of vegetables annually, said SFA's CEO Lim Kok Thai.
The sites at Jurong West and Woodlands were awarded to Tomato Town, the Bukit Panjang sites to ATS Landscaping and Construction, and those at Sembawang to Winarto.
The successful proposals featured technological innovations like hydroponic and vertical farming systems with "Internet of Things" elements and automated climate control, said Mr Lim.
Making more spaces available for commercial farming is in line with Singapore's "30 by 30" vision, said SFA and HDB. The target aims for the country to produce 30 per cent of its nutritional needs by 2030.
An earlier batch of HDB carpark rooftop farming sites awarded to bidders in September last year was expected to produce around 1,600 tonnes of vegetables a year.
"Given Singapore's limited land and space, the use of alternative spaces for urban farming will bring food production closer to the community," said Mr Lim.
He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has also heightened the importance of local production to ensure a steady supply of food.
"Now more than ever, our local farms must leverage technology to grow more with less," said Mr Lim.
COVID-19 lockdowns and border closures around the world gave rise to some concerns about ensuring ample food supply during the pandemic.
In May, long queues were observed at some supermarkets in Singapore after tighter community restrictions were announced.
HDB's deputy chief executive officer Mike Chan said the urban farming initiative also helped to "intensify greening" in public housing estates, in line with HDB's Green Towns Programme under the SG Green Plan.
"HDB will continue to look for opportunities to inject more greenery in our housing estates and provide a better living environment for residents."