agriculture indoor singapore technology food great place

techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

Singapore – The Next Great Place for Urban AgricultureBlog18 Jan 2019 Updated 26 Mar 2021# Agri-tech# Singapore – The Next Great Place for Urban AgricultureKee Ai Nah, Executive Director, Lifestyle & Consumer Cluster, EnterpriseSingaporeThis article was first published on Indoor Ag-Con on 3 January 2019.A hub is a fertile ground where great ideas can cross-pollinate, andtechnology matching, transfer and development can happen. Silicon Valley, forexample, has established itself as a global centre for high-tech innovationand scientific development. It is home to many technology companies, pullingtogether the technical and creative brainpower needed to fuel growth.Similar hubs, exist for agriculture too. California’s Salinas Valley is thehub for traditional veggie growers, while Holland’s Westland Region andMalaysia’s Genting Highlands are flagbearers for greenhouses. But what aboutthe new generation of farmers who are growing in technology-enabledwarehouses, plant factories and containers?> Singapore is well-positioned to be the next great place for urban> agriculture, given our deep research and development expertise in> engineering and manufacturing, pro-business environment and global> connectivity.### Planting the seeds of technologySingapore has never quite been an agricultural nation by virtue of our limitedarable land. Today, only 8% of the vegetables we consume are produced in localfarms, making us highly dependent on food imports. Modern technology in indooragriculture has opened new opportunities for small countries like ours toscale up our food production capabilities, thereby improving food security andtraceability.Indoor agriculture is the young offspring of an age-old industry. It is thegrowing of plants in cleanroom-like conditions, with growers controlling everyaspect of the cultivation environment; from lighting and nutrients totemperature and humidity.LED lights, used in replacement of natural sunlight, have to be carefullycalibrated to stimulate maximum plant photosynthesis. Sensors, anothertechnology advancement, provide growers with real time insights on farmingconditions, enabling smart data on irrigation, fertiliser application andharvest. Combining intelligent sensors with machine learning and artificialintelligence, today’s growers are better able to tackle problems before theyimperil a harvest, and to identify environmental conditions that improveyields.### Harvesting agri-tech opportunities in SingaporeSingapore’s strong innovation climate makes it a conducive place foragriculture technologies to take root. Together with a reliable intellectualproperty and standards framework, and a pro-business environment, theseattributes create a solid foundation for technology transfer and productdevelopment in the agri-tech sector.Today, our very own agri-tech sector is buzzing with exciting developments.From six indoor vertical farms in 2016, there are now over 30. Examples are:Singapore is also facilitating the growth of agri-tech startups by enhancingaccess to financing and the right expertise. In September 2018, SEEDS Capital(the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore) called for partners to co-investin Singapore-based startups with disruptive agriculture and food technologiesand solutions. Response was overwhelming, alluding to the growth potential ofthis sector.As we continue to groom our local enterprises, more is also being done touncover a range of promising agri-tech gems through startup pitchingplatforms, like the Indoor Ag-Ignite competition, supported by EnterpriseSingapore. Agri-tech related events such as Indoor Ag-Con Asia play animportant role in creating innovation, financing and internationalisationopportunities, and connecting companies with industry stakeholders like globalagriculture experts, researchers and investors. Upgrown Farming, a technologydistributor and local farming consultant that has helped to develop indoorfarms across the region, will be bringing wisdom to Indoor Ag-Con Asia in theform of practical workshops on 15th-16th January 2019 at Marina Bay Sands,Singapore.### Growing the agriculture ecosystem of tomorrowThe sector’s promising outlook is drawing multinationals to Singapore.Japanese conglomerate, Panasonic, set up its indoor vegetable farm in 2014 toprovide seasonal greens like mizuna and rainbow chard to locals at a lowercarbon footprint. US firm, Crop One Holdings, recently announced a US$40million joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering to build a large plantfactory in Dubai and is looking at additional locations for its vision of‘digitally distributed farming’. Crop One Holdings Chief Executive Officer,Sonia Lo, revealed that the company in active discussions to develop aSingapore farm, having selected the island over other locations for severalreasons. “We have found great support from regulators and a good understandingof the needs of distributed agriculture in Singapore,” she commented, notingthat Singapore’s strong logistics supply chain and ease of doing businessplayed a part in the decision making.Indoor agriculture is expected to continue expanding at nearly 20% annuallythrough 20231, and growers are looking to see improvements in access tocapital and to play a more prominent role in agri-tech policymaking. Singaporeis riding the agri-tech wave to develop a clearer regulatory framework andbuild an invigorating business environment to not just grow local agri-techcompanies but also attract established global players, venture capitalists andaccelerators to anchor here.These progressive moves go towards cultivating the landscape for urbanagriculture in our tropical city state.Find out about other opportunities in Singapore’s food manufacturing industry.Want to be part of Asia’s leading startup hub? Here’s why you should start upin Singapore.1 KD Market Insights figures

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