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  • Aastha Trivedi

Vertical Farming: The key to Singapore’s food security?

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

In the heart of urban Singapore, where space is a premium commodity, a revolutionary approach to agriculture is taking root – vertical farming. In a city-state that imports over 90% of its food, the need for innovative solutions to enhance food security has never been more pressing. Vertical farming emerges as a beacon of hope, offering sustainable and space-efficient alternatives to traditional agriculture. Let’s learn more about it!


WHAT IS SINGAPORE’S CHALLENGE?

Singapore faces inherent challenges in ensuring a stable and resilient food supply. With limited land available for conventional farming, the city relies heavily on imports from neighboring countries. External factors such as climate change, geopolitical tensions, and disruptions in the global supply chain further underscore the vulnerability of this dependency. For example, the 2008 global financial crisis, led to an increase in prices of imported foods substantially. For instance, the price of key raw foods increased by 55% in 12 months. Thus, policymakers have been encouraging a push towards local food production. 


Are there any farms driving the effort already? Let’s learn from VegeMagic!

Agroath had the opportunity to interview VegeMagic, a notable vertical farm producing Kale, Lettuce, and Japanese Komatsuna in Singapore. Located in Jurong, the farm boasts several floors of indoor farms and has recently introduced a hydroponic farm to grow one-time harvest vegetables like Lettuce. They are also exploring a few more varieties like Hong Kong Kailan and Xiao Bai Cai. Their farm utilizes LED lights to ensure the growth of strong roots, a sturdy sturdy stem, and a compact shape. The key highlight of our discussion, was when we learned the entire farm is solar-powered, enhancing the sustainability of their operation. 


Glance through some pictures of their farm below: 


Their produce is GAP-certified by the Singapore Food Agency and currently, their kale and lettuce are available at NTUC.  Our team had a chance to try their kale and lettuce. In our experience, the Magic Kale and Lettuce deliver unparalleled freshness, crunchiness, and taste, as they are harvested at their peak, ensuring a flavorful garden-to-table experience.


Now, what is vertical farming?

Vertical farming involves cultivating crops in vertically stacked layers or inclined surfaces, often within controlled environments like skyscrapers or shipping containers. This method maximizes the use of limited space, reduces the need for extensive land, and minimizes water usage. Farms in Singapore are now adopting advanced technologies like LED lights, biosensors, and artificial intelligence to maximize sustainability, yield, and nutritional quality. 




What are the advantages of vertical farming?In Singapore, where land is at a premium, vertical farming enables the cultivation of a variety of crops in a controlled and efficient manner, regardless of external conditions. One of the key advantages of vertical farming is its inherently sustainable nature. By bringing food production closer to urban centers, the carbon footprint associated with transportation is significantly reduced. Additionally, vertical farms employ advanced technologies such as hydroponics and aeroponics, which use less water compared to traditional farming methods. This not only conserves a precious resource but also aligns with Singapore's commitment to environmental sustainability.


What are the challenges in creating a market?

While vertical farming holds immense promise, challenges such as high initial setup costs, the need for a skilled workforce, and a lack of local demand remain. Addressing these challenges requires collaboration between the government, the private sector, and us, the people of Singapore, to create a supportive ecosystem for the vertical farming industry to flourish.


Think you know about vertical farming? Want to provide your input? Take our quiz!


Would you consume vertically farmed local produce like Kale and Lettuce?

  • Yes

  • No


What would motivate you to purchase local produce?

  • Sustainability

  • Health and nutrition

  • Cost savings

  • Quality and freshness

You can vote for more than one answer.



Why is vertical farming considered a sustainable alternative in densely populated cities like Singapore?

  • A. Requires extensive land use

  • B. Minimises water usage

  • C. Relies on traditional farming methods

  • D. Depends on global food imports


Why is space a premium commodity in urban Singapore, making traditional farming challenging?

  • A. High population density

  • B. Limited technological resources

  • C. Excessive industrialisation

  • D. Abundant farmland

Answers: B, A


Sources:

  1. Lu, Marcus. “Is Vertical Farming the Future?” Visual Capitalist, 22 March 2022, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/sp/is-vertical-farming-the-future/. Accessed 20 December 2023.

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