Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Agri-tech and Urban Farm Clusters
*2301. Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment whether the Ministry will consider building further agri-tech and urban farm clusters to ensure food supply and that price disruptions are kept to a minimum.
Fluctuations of food prices in Singapore go beyond the size of local food supply. Multiple factors come into play, such as the freight and labour situation, seasonal weather changes, cost of feedstock and fertilisers, and global demand.
As Singapore currently imports more than 90% of its food supply, spanning across thousands of types ranging from staples like rice and wheat, to meat and dairy, it is unrealistic to expect to eliminate price fluctuations of all food types through local production, even if this is scaled up. Our local cost of food production is also higher in many cases than imported foods because of higher land and labour costs.
A better hedge against supply and price disruptions is import source diversification, complemented by local food production. We are working on increasing our local food supply for greater resilience. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has embarked on the holistic master-planning of the 390-hectare Lim Chu Kang area and will also launch new sea space tenders on leases. These efforts aim to raise the productivity of farms sited on Singapore's scarce land and sea space. There are also high-tech farms in industrial spaces and urban farms on under-utilised rooftops of HDB multi-storey carparks, serving as additional sources.