SINGAPORE - Singapore's new food regulator will ensure the country's food security by further developing three national strategies to obtain food, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.
He set out the Singapore Food Agency's (SFA) priorities in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 12) during the debate on a Bill that will pave the way for its formation on April 1 to oversee food safety and security.
Stressing that food security is fundamental to Singapore's national security, Mr Masagos said Singapore must not be overreliant on any single food source.
He recounted how Malaysia announced last December that it was considering limiting or stopping egg exports, and restricting exports of certain types of seafood.
It will not be the last time that Singapore faces possible disruption to its food imports, he noted.
"With the formation of SFA, we will continue to strengthen Singapore's food security and reduce our vulnerability to external volatility and price hikes," he said. "SFA will also continue to partner other government agencies to ensure basic food items remain affordable."
First, the SFA will build on existing work by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to diversity import sources, Mr Masagos said.
These sources have been expanded from 140 countries in 2004 to around 180 countries today, he added.
"We take for granted apples from Poland, bananas from Ecuador, and Mandarin oranges from China in our supermarkets. These are in fact the fruits of a deliberate strategy to diversify our food sources," said Mr Masagos.
He noted that food imports will remain the Republic's biggest "food basket" for the foreseeable future.
The SFA will also intensify efforts to grow the agri-food sector here, which is Singapore's second "food basket", he added.