Speech by Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Launch of the Farm-to-Table (FTT) Recognition Programme, on 27 March 2023
Ms Thien Kwee Eng, CEO of Sentosa Development Corporation
Mr Tan Hee Teck, Chairman and CEO of Resorts World Sentosa
Ladies and gentlemen
Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you today at the launch of the Farm-to-Table (FTT) Recognition Programme. I am glad to see representatives from our Hotel, Restaurant, Catering (HoReCa) industry associations, as well as our local farms, here to demonstrate our collective support and commitment for the local agri-food sector.
Importance of Demand Offtake
2 Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of our food. While import diversification remains a key strategy, our local agri-food sector helps to mitigate the impact of supply disruption by being an important buffer that we want to grow in Singapore. Our ‘30 by 30’ goal sets the ambition to build our capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs locally by 2030. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has been working closely with our local farms and operators from the food industry to make progress towards this goal.
3 Beyond bolstering Singapore’s food resilience, there are many other reasons why we should consider local produce in our daily lives. For example, local produce is fresher, you cannot get it any fresher to your doorstep than our local produce. It is also much more sustainable simply because there will be less wastage, as it is transported over a shorter distance. It also incurs less carbon miles because it is not shipped from far flung places. Someone told me that for vegetables from far flung places, as much as 10 to 20 per cent is lost due to the fact that these are perishable products. So, I think just by buying local, we are doing a very important part to be more environmentally sustainable.
4 As we work on supply-side measures to increase production, we will need corresponding demand-side initiatives to complement this effort. As we produce more, someone has to consume more produce. These being perishable items, they cannot just be produced and left on the shelf for months on end. Someone has to consume all these products, and it must make financial sense for our farmers to produce more when they know that there is a market signal from our consumers that they want more of the produce. To help consumers identify local produce to make more informed and deliberate choices to support local farms, SFA launched the three-tier SG Fresh Produce badges last year. They also offer certification for quality assurance and sustainable practices. Last Friday, Sustenir became the first farm in Singapore to be awarded the 3-star SG Fresh Produce badge – congratulations! This is a SG Clean and Green certification mark that indicates that the produce is grown in a farm which has been certified to have adopted both Good Agricultural Practice and sustainable, resource-efficient practices. We are excited about this development as we work with the industry to onboard more local farms and build a more sustainable and resilient food future for Singapore. So, with this certification, we know we have farms producing food that is good, safe, nutritious and sustainable for you.
Farm-to-Table Recognition Programme
5 Today, we are going a step further to help consumers identify and support local produce more easily. With the new FTT recognition programme, HoReCa businesses that procure at least 15 per cent of their ingredients in dollar value from local farms will be awarded the FTT logo. Businesses that procure more local produce will be given a higher award tier. This allows them to brand and market their businesses as being environmentally conscious, using fresher produce, and supporting our drive towards a more sustainable and resilient food future.
6 This recognition programme was the result of a strong partnership between industry and government. As part of the Forward Singapore conversations, the agri-food industry, supported by SFA and other government agencies, have come together to explore ways to increase the demand offtake of local agricultural produce, and encourage consumers to support local farms by buying more local produce. Three industry associations – the Association of Catering Professionals Singapore, Restaurant Association of Singapore, and the Singapore Hotel Association worked hard with SFA over the past year to co-develop and design the programme for the HoReCa sector. Industry members also provided valuable feedback through townhall sessions. Members from the Alliance for Action on “Local Produce Demand Offtake and Consumer Education”, formed as part of our Forward Singapore Exercise, and the Sentosa Development Corporation’s Carbon Neutral Network contributed ideas to support the programme. Such active industry involvement and collaborations are important in helping to generate greater support for our local agricultural industry. The programme is also a good example of our social compact for sustainability stewardship, where various segments of society, comprising the businesses, community, individuals and government come together to undertake our shared responsibilities to advance our common interests to promote food resilience. I thank our industry partners for coming forward and working closely with us to make this programme possible.
7 We are recognising the first tranche of logo recipients today. The recipients span the spectrum of food establishments, and include hotels, restaurants, fast food eateries, and caterers. In fact, the venue we are at today – Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) – will be receiving the highest tier of the FTT Recognition Logo – congratulations. RWS procures more than 15 per cent of their ingredients from three categories – hen shell eggs, leafy vegetables, and beansprouts from local farms. These products have been used in creations such as the assorted mushroom quiche, barramundi slider, and cream puff, which will be served later at the reception.
8 Congratulations once again to all the award recipients and thank you for your strong support of our local farms. A big thanks also to our local farms who are here today for your dedication and commitment to our ’30 by 30’ goal, and for providing fresh and quality produce for consumers and businesses. I look forward to more collaborations and partnerships between HoReCa and our local farms, as we collectively elevate our local food scene with the freshness and quality of our local produce.
9 Thank you and enjoy the dishes made with our fresh and sustainable local produce.