Singapore eyes rooftop parking for urban farms as virus upends food supply

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Singapore Eyes Rooftop Parking For Urban Farms As Virus Upends Food Supply - We The World Magazine

Singapore eyes rooftop car parking for urban farms to increase the local food supply, as the Coronavirus crisis upends a global good supply chain. In what they are calling the 30×30 Express Grant, Singapore aims to foster 30% of its food demand locally, by 2030.

Among the new measures to ramp-up the local food supply, converting the rooftop car parking in their public housing estates into urban farms is one of the highlights, Reuters reports.

“Local food production mitigates our reliance on imports, and provides a buffer in the event of food supply disruptions,” the authority told.

 

Within the 724 sq km (280 sq miles) area, only 1% is devoted to agriculture, and Singapore farmers have been reportedly looking for ways to increase productivity. Now the Pandemic brings immediate attention.

As of now, only 10% of Singapore’s food supply is made in the city-state. Over the next 6 to 24 months, Singapore will speed up local productions.

“The current COVID-19 situation underscores the importance of local food production, as part of Singapore’s strategies to ensure food security,” the authorities added.

The local supply increment plan includes the production of green leafy veggies at least possible time, alongside identifying other alternative farming practices with a S$30m ($21m) grant, according to reports.

Singapore’s Urban Farms

Comcrop, for instance, is one of Singapore’s signature local food suppliers, will be reportedly benefitted from the grant. Set-up in 2014, the company set up Singapore’s first commercial rooftop farms.

Now it sells freshly grown greens ranging from lettuce to holy basil and more in between. Harnessing “advanced hydroponics” sans the use of “harmful pesticides or herbicides.”

Comcrop hopes to expand within the next six to eight months and increase their output by ten times their current production.

Singapore’s urban farming scene has been quite a vision to watch, with the city-state increasingly draping itself in what they proudly call the urban greenery. The nation has many world-class botanical gardens, and some are significant tourist attractions.

Currently, Com Corp supplies 50kg leafy greens in the local supermarkets a day. Now, the firm seeks to boost its production by ten times of their present capacity.

Urban agriculture has the potential to feed the next millions who’ll be predominantly city dwellers, as gradually more and more people start living in cities.

A study claims “urban agriculture, if deployed across all available vacant land, rooftops, and building façades, could produce 100–180 million tons of food, save about 14–15 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, sequester 100,000–170,000 tons of nitrogen, and offset roughly 2 trillion cubic feet of storm runoff each year.”

Coronavirus Concerns

Singapore was one of the worst-hit after the Wuhan outbreak, but stringent controls and prompt responses by the authorities helped in demoting new infections.

However, recently locally transmitted cases raise fresh concerns. Most of the confined cases in Singapore are reportedly related to the foreign worker’s dormitories. To date, there are 21,707 infections and 20 death.

Like every country in the world, people in Singapore went panic buying groceries. Authorities have reportedly assured the public that the City-state has enough food in stock to supply in the Pandemic.

The impact of coronavirus has been so profound, on Tuesday, the country’s central bank declared that Singapore would enter recession this year.  Forecasts predict even lower financial dip than the predicted -4 to -1, Financial Express reports.

(Cover image courtesy of Comcrop via Instagram)

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