SPEECH BY MS GRACE FU, MINISTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF COMCROP’S NEW HYBRID GREENHOUSE FACILITY ON 9 OCTOBER 2022
Mr Peter Barber, CEO of ComCrop,
Mr Allan Lim, Chairman and Founder of ComCrop,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1 Good morning, everyone. I am happy to join you for the launch of ComCrop’s new hybrid greenhouse facility.
Strengthening Singapore’s Food Security
2 The COVID-19 pandemic that we are emerging from, showed us how lockdowns and border restrictions worldwide can severely disrupt supply chains, straining logistics networks.
3 Today, while the worst of the pandemic appears to be behind us, geopolitical tensions and extreme weather events caused by climate change continue to cause disruptions in global food production and supply. With Singapore importing more than 90 per cent of our food, it is critical that we proactively find ways to ensure the resiliency of our food supplies.
Ramping up Local Production
4 It is with this purpose in mind that we have put forward our “30 by 30” goal, of building up our local capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs by 2030. This will provide Singapore with a significant buffer against food supply disruptions. The “30 by 30” goal is an ambitious one, especially since we are striving to achieve it through highly productive, climate-resilient, and resource-efficient means. This is quite unique in the world. It will require significant investments in and application of technology. The $30 million “30 by 30” Express Grant is one of our Singapore Food Agency’s many initiatives, meant to help farms introduce new technologies to ramp up production and catalyse our efforts towards our collective “30 by 30” goal.
5 ComCrop has been one of the pioneers of urban farming in Singapore. It has also tapped on the “30 by 30” Express Grant. I am pleased to note that ComCrop is also the first of seven grant recipients to launch its project, the new hybrid greenhouse facility that we see today. It has not been easy to deliver this significant project amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many farms faced delays in the delivery of supplies and materials. Manpower shortages arising from border restrictions also affected the progress of projects. Despite this, our farmers, including ComCrop, persevered and soldiered on. The Government partnered and supported our farmers through these challenging times. I am therefore particularly heartened to see ComCrop’s efforts come to fruition today.
6 Today’s milestone is even more significant given that we will commemorate World Food Day 2022 next week. This year’s theme is Leave No One Behind – Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment and a Better Life. By leveraging technology and innovation, ComCrop exemplifies many of these ideals. Comcrop uses an automated farming system and a mobile gully system, which maximises the use of space, increases productivity, and reduces manpower. Comcrop also harnesses solar energy to reduce energy consumption from the grid, as well as remote monitoring for plant growth management. I hope to learn more about these systems and technologies during my tour of your greenhouse facility later.
Supporting Local Produce
7 While we work closely with the industry to ‘grow more with less’, consumers and businesses can contribute to “30 by 30” by supporting local produce. Local produce is fresh. It incurs less transport miles. Higher local demand for home-grown produce will keep our farms commercially viable and spur our farmers to become more productive. So, the next time you shop for groceries, I encourage you to look out for the bright red 1- and 2-star “SG Fresh Produce” logos. The 1-star logo represents produce that have been grown locally, while the 2-star logo provides additional quality assurance that the farm’s management practices have been audited and certified to produce food in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. Your support for local produce will go a long way in strengthening Singapore’s food security.
8 Let me conclude. Our strategies have served us well in strengthening Singapore’s food resilience, especially during times of supply disruption. But there is still much more work to be done, particularly for “30 by 30”. SFA will continue to partner the agri-food industry in this endeavour.
9 Congratulations once again to ComCrop on the opening of your new facility. I look forward to seeing more of your fresh produce on our supermarket shelves, as well as those of the other “30 by 30” Express Grant recipients in time to come.