High-tech farming – from microalgae harvests to multi-storey fish farms – is a major part of Singapore’s quest to import less food from abroad.
The government wants 30% of Singapore’s nutritional requirements to be produced at home by 2030 – a big leap from around 10% today.
To get there, it is spreading its bets, nurturing urban farms, aquaculture ventures and the development of alternative proteins at home to reduce its reliance on food from elsewhere.
Government researchers from A*Star – Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research – are collaborating with local startup Eatobe, for example, on the best way to preprocess ingredients such as nuts, seeds and grains, so stomachs can absorb more of the good things inside.
Meanwhile, Archisen, which grows vegetables in indoor farms, is working with A*Star to finetune these controlled environments using sensors and AI to bring down costs while growing more lettuce and kale at the same time.
Better yields and more nutritious food are just one part of the puzzle, however.
Commercial models and consumer preferences also need to align for businesses to take off.
We spoke to Yee Ting Wong, acting director at A*Star’s Food and Consumer Cluster, about some of the projects the agency is supporting and what it will take for new forms of food production to succeed.
Watch the video below for more on Singapore’s plan to overhaul its food system;