Thailand farms

‘Healthy Growth’ in Number of Local Food Farms: Singapore Food Statistics Report

SINGAPORE: There has been a “healthy growth” in the number of local food farms, from 221 in 2019 to 260 in 2021, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said in its first report on Singapore food statistics released on Friday (April 8).

More than 90% of Singapore’s food is imported, and local farms serve as important buffers by reducing reliance on imports during supply disruptions, SFA said.

For example, local fish farms have mobilized to maintain production during the two-week closure of the Jurong fishing port in July 2021.

Singapore reserves 1% of its area for food farms.

The report also highlighted the diversification of Singapore’s food sources from 172 countries and regions in 2019 to 180 in 2021.

“Diversification of import sources, complemented by local food production, therefore helps to insure against supply and price disruptions,” the SFA said.

DIVERSIFYING IMPORT SOURCES

Many factors could impact Singapore’s food supply, including climate change, disease outbreaks, geopolitical uncertainties, global population growth and global pandemics like COVID-19, the SFA said.

The agency highlighted efforts to diversify Singapore’s egg supply over the past three years to alleviate supply disruptions due to farm closures. In 2021, eggs imported from alternative sources such as Thailand, Australia, Spain and Poland contributed about 18% of Singapore’s egg supply, up from 2% in 2019.

The SFA also approved 16 countries for exporting eggs to Singapore, up from 12 in 2019.

More than 50% of chicken eggs in shell currently come from Malaysia, according to the report.

The main sources of food commonly consumed in Singapore in 2021 are Australia (vegetables, meat), China (vegetables, fruits), Brazil (meat), Indonesia (seafood), Malaysia (vegetables, chicken shell eggs, seafood, meat, fruit), Poland (chicken shell eggs), South Africa (fruit) and Vietnam (seafood).

LOCAL FARMS

Singapore’s agri-food sector is mainly made up of farms that produce in-shell chicken eggs, vegetables and seafood. They contributed 30%, 4% and 8% of Singapore’s total food consumption respectively in 2021, according to the report.

From 2020 to 2021, “the total local production value of these food products increased by 13%, from S$163.4 million to S$185.2 million,” the SFA said.

Local production of hen-in-shell eggs has increased by more than 7% year-on-year and will be boosted by the development of a fourth egg farm. When fully operational from 2024, local farms will be able to meet around half of Singapore’s egg demand, according to the report.

FOOD SAFETY

As Singapore’s food safety regulator, the SFA ensures the safety of imported food through the accreditation of overseas sources for high-risk products, including meat and eggs.

It also “maintains a comprehensive, risk-based inspection process” to vet local food establishments. Deficiencies in licensing conditions, regulatory requirements, biosecurity, food safety and hygiene practices call for immediate rectification and may lead to enforcement action, the SFA said.

Non-compliance with SFA inspection standards by retail food establishments remained low between 2019 and 2021, at 3% on average, according to the report.

Non-retail food establishments showed a similar trend over the same period, with the exception of central kitchens which generally saw higher non-compliance rates.

The SFA said the number of foodborne illness cases linked to foodborne outbreaks has remained low, with no more than 26 such cases per 100,000 people per year for the past three years.

In terms of food recalls, the SFA conducted 23 food recalls in 2021, comparable to previous years.

Editor’s note: This article has been modified following a correction by the SFA to its press release regarding the total value of local production of eggs, vegetables and seafood from 2020 to 2021.