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The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has launched a second grant call for research and development in ‘sustainable urban food production’ that will provide funding support for innovative urban-agriculture projects across two research areas of interest to address challenges faced by the urban agricultural industry
The area for disease and health management will include the development of novel indoor crop protection technologies to improve yield and efficiency of resource use, and to reduce the cost of indoor production of vegetables. Nutrient and quality preservation for fresh produce are set to focus on the development of novel solutions for shelf life extension and nutrient preservation of fresh produce, beyond what is achievable by best-in-class technologies in a cost-effective and less energy-intensive way to reduce post-harvest and storage losses.
Second grant call for ‘sustainable urban food production’
The ‘Singapore Food Story R&D Programme’, led by SFA and A*STAR, was initiated to support Singapore’s agenda of strengthening the country’s food security and achieving the "30 by 30" target while reaping economic benefits. In March 2019, a total of US$105mn of research funding has been made available under the programme to enable research in sustainable urban food production, future foods, food safety science and innovation.
In April 2021, 12 proposals were selected and awarded over US$16.8mn in funding through the first grant call ‘Sustainable Urban Food Production’ led by SFA. These comprise eight proposals in the domain of aquaculture, four in urban agriculture and spans key research areas of genetics, disease, health management, systems and conditions optimisation as well as nutrition.
The second grant call aims to encourage researchers, technology providers and potential adopters to co-develop innovative solutions for the urban agriculture industries. Through this grant call, SFA is seeking solutions with the ability to increase the productivity of local food producers beyond what is achievable by current best-in-class technologies.
The proposals will be evaluated based on their potential contribution to grant objectives, scientific excellence and innovation potential, potential for commercialisation, application and deployment in Singapore and execution strength and technical competency of the research team. Research proposals will also take into consideration cost effectiveness, resource use efficiency, sustainability, and climate resilience.
Dr Ngin Hoon Tong, acting senior director for SFA’s science and technology division, said, “Singapore imports over 90% of our food needs and COVID-19 has accentuated Singapore’s vulnerabilities to global supply disruption. To buffer us against these changes, we are encouraging researchers and industry to develop new innovations for sustainable urban food production in areas such as crop protection, shelf-life extension and nutrient preservation. This would better enhance Singapore’s food resilience and security.”