When Singaporeans buy homegrown produce, even if it costs more, they are “co-investing in the country’s food resilience in the future”, Ms. Grace Fu said.
The Minister for Sustainability and the Environment added that the country’s journey to beef up food security will take many years. “It will require sustained contributions from the private, people, and public sectors and for all parties to stay the course.” She was speaking in Parliament on Thursday (April 20) on the fourth day of a debate on the President’s address.
Currently, Singapore imports more than 90 percent of the country’s food needs. Climate change, geopolitical tensions, disease outbreaks, and inflation will place increasing pressure on food sources and cause “volatility” in food production, she said. This was why Singapore had set a goal to be able to produce 30 percent of its nutritional needs.
When people buy homegrown produce, they are supporting the farms here as well as the food-and-beverage (F&B) outlets that use the farms’ products, in what Ms. Fu described as a “symbiotic relationship.”
The producers here give the F&B industry certainty in supply and quality and reduce the vagaries caused by extreme weather events. At the same time, supermarkets and buyers give the farms certainty in demand, thus mitigating their business risks.
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“Local produce may cost more but is more reliable and fresh — attributes that are valuable to consumers and businesses,” Ms Fu said. “By building up our local food production today, we are gaining food security for tomorrow.”
This is part of an inter-generational compact between this and future generations of residents and it applies to how the country is preparing itself for the impact of climate change.
This is seen in the country’s approach to coastal protection, which is another multigenerational task that requires long-term investments in adaptation solutions and capacity building through research and development.
“These investments will need to start today and from today’s generation, if we are to successfully meet this long-term future challenge,” she said.
“By pursuing innovations in sustainable novel foods, or planning and building long-term for coastal protection, we ensure that Singapore can remain resilient to climate change into the future.
“When we work together, as we have in the past, we can create a sustainable Singapore in the decades ahead.”
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