All about our Food Security!
Concerned about COVID-19's impact on Food Security?
Why is Food Security important? How are we affected? What are we doing about it? The spotlight on Food Security has come into focus now more than ever.
Read about ways in which YOUR Food Security is being disrupted
1. Food Security and why it matters.
The human race needs food to survive. Food Security (or our insecurities) have been discussed long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivering sufficient food to a country, or even the whole world, presents a mammoth challenge in the best of times. Our increasing population, estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, will put a huge strain on producers.
Changes in consumer tastes and consumption habits due to changes in buying power have increased the demand for processed foods, meats and dairy. Climate change and increasing temperatures are turning once viable farmland into arid deserts.
Water is scarce and top soil is getting damaged due to unsustainable farming practices too. These are just some of the challenges we have to face to ensure that we stay fed sustainably. In order to solve this problem of tomorrow, we have to tackle it today.
2. COVID-19: An overnight reminder of our need to strengthen our local production.
Malaysia, one of our largest suppliers of fresh leafy greens among others, announced its movement control order with measures including barring their citizens from leaving and foreigners from entering the country.
Around the globe, millions of workers are not able to go to work and to tend to the produce. Crops are ripening and rotting in the farms with no one to tend them. In the US, thousands of gallons of fresh milk, tonnes of onions an thousands upon thousands of eggs are destroyed every week due to the lock down measures being implemented.
To top it off, air freight capacity for fresh produce has plummeted as planes are grounded, meaning global exports for fresh produce has taken a huge hit. Where as on the demand side, although food shortages are still a long ways off (due in no small part to our governments forward planning), a round of panic buying ensued in Singapore and around the globe with people rushing to hoard supplies in the fear of a food shortages occurred.
This disconnect between supply and demand outlines the fragility of our global supply chain lines. Prices of certain staples like potatoes, eggs and onions have all risen, some up by almost 50%!
3. The "30 by 30" Express
In March 2019, the Singapore government announced the ambitions '30 by 30' goal, to produce enough food locally to meet 30% of our nations nutritional needs by the year 2030.
The goal was born from our need to be less vulnerable to the volatility of the global food market as we import more than 90% of our food. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singapore Food Agency launched $30 million grant to help local farms ramp up their production of eggs, leafy vegetables and fish over the next 6 - 24 months. This is a timely boost to the local agricultural sector, enabling us to scale up our production capabilities to reach our nations goals at a much faster rate.
No doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, but we can also look at this as an opportunity to boost our efforts and ensure that we strengthen ourselves. Diversification of supply lines, increasing our national stock-piles and increasing local produce production are some of the key areas by which we are shoring up our resilience and preparing ourselves for a stronger, more secure future.