Food security remains a global challenge. How countries fare are regularly tracked. For example, the Economist Intelligence Unit publishes its annual Global Food Security Index (GFSI) covering 109 countries around the world. GFSI measures three key areas: i) Availability, ii) Affordability and iii) Quality and Safety of food.
Singapore’s challenges are especially acute as we are inevitably highly reliant on food imports. But challenges can be addressed with sound policies and practical strategies. Despite our handicap, we can still ensure that food is available, safe, nutritious and affordable for all.
Moving up 11 notches on the GFSI for a tiny city state without much agricultural land is no mean feat.
Although we import over 90% of our food, we support some local production to play a useful complementary role. Last month, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) launched a $63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund to help our local farmers boost yields and raise productivity. Our ambition is for our local farms to, over time, transform into a high tech and progressive one.
The improvement in our GFSI ranking was mostly due to (a) stability in our local production, (b) sufficiency of supply, and (c) having a nutrition plan in place.
We have also scored well in the new indicator for food loss. Our programmes and R&D projects to reduce food losses in the early stages of food production, which include post-harvest handling techniques, cold chain management, and conversion of food manufacturing waste, have been notable. Meanwhile, we must press on with reducing general food wastage among consumers.
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