Friday, July 31, 2009

Govt to set up two funds to improve food security in S'pore

By Desmond Wong, Channel NewsAsia
31 July 2009 2038 hrs

SINGAPORE: The government plans to set up two funds which will help improve Singapore's food supply resilience.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan announced this at the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore Food Safety Awards Night on Friday.

Last year's rice supply crunch might be a thing of the past, but with Singapore importing 90 per cent of its food, the government isn't taking any chances.

The two funds will help ensure Singapore has a stable food supply.

The Food Diversification Fund will secure diverse sources of food through food production, or food zones overseas.

Mr Mah said: "Such food zones will provide safe, quality food to both the population of the host country as well as Singapore. However, these have to be commercially-viable to be sustainable and we encourage the private sector to seriously explore and spearhead investments into food zones."

The fund will also explore the possibility of seeking out partners for food production on a contract basis, while the Food Capability Development Fund will help support local farms and research.

Mr Mah said: "To give confidence for our farmers to invest in farms for maximum food production, the government will support local agriculture by setting aside land for these types of farms for the next 20 years.”

The government has set a target of being self-sufficient for 30 per cent of Singapore's eggs, 15 per cent of its fish and 10 per cent of its leafy vegetables.

The minister also said that consumers have a part to play in food security, such as understanding the benefits of substitutes such as frozen meat, liquid or powdered eggs. Knowing this will help the public react better to future shocks in the food supply.

The two funds are expected to be up and running within a year.

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