Do more to ensure food security

Do more to ensure food security

Singapore should seriously consider the impact climate change and food safety have on our food security ("Some Malaysian greens cost 60 per cent more at wet markets"; last Tuesday).

We still have a long way to go to address food security. While Singapore has partnered China to build a food zone in Jilin to diversify food sources for Singaporeans, this project has been hit with delays ("Jilin food zone in the slow cooker, hit by delays"; Sept 22, 2014).

Unless we expand our agricultural research and development, we risk becoming over-dependent on food imports, making us extremely vulnerable to changes in the global political and economic environment.

There is no guarantee that local wholesalers can enjoy low fixed prices indefinitely. If overseas suppliers demand higher prices, then Singaporeans must pay more. Lower-income earners and retirees will feel the pinch.

What long-term plans are in place for ensuring our food security, given our insufficient land for farming?

Singapore should develop a multi-pronged approach that includes more diversification of supply sources and increased stockpiling of non-perishable goods.

Our agricultural sector also needs to be developed, with more high-tech farming and more resources going into research. The authorities should partner the private sector to shift from rural to urban agriculture.

We should turn our agri-business into a regional hub and transform from being a passive food importer to becoming an active contributor.

Francis Cheng

This article was first published on Jan 12, 2015.
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