Aquaponics project uses black soldier flies to break down food waste set to expand

An initiative in Tampines Park to convert food waste into nutrients for use in vegetable and fish farming is set to be extended to other parts of the town. The produce from the farms is currently undergoing food safety checks, said the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Possible sites at blocks 106, 270, and 412 are being explored for their suitability, said the Tampines Town Council.

Known as Sustainability @ Tampines Park, the community-based initiative is a circular ecosystem with a black soldier fly facility, a vertical high-tech farm for vegetables such as lettuce and nai bai, as well as a tilapia fish farm. Residents can contribute their food waste to the black soldier fly facility, where the insect larvae act as a decomposer and break down the food into frass, which can be used as a fertilizer at the vegetable farm. The insect larvae - being a good source of protein nutrients - can then be fed to the tilapia.

The project, launched in December last year, is a collaboration between the town council, SFA, sustainable technology firm Netatech, environmental consultancy Otolith Enrichment, and Tampines Residents' Network. SFA said the project highlights its "Grow Local" food basket, as part of its strategies to use more spaces in land-scarce Singapore for food farming.

This move comes amid the nation's goals to produce more food locally - 30 percent by 2030 - to boost its food security, and cut waste to extend the lifespan of the Semakau Landfill.

It said the feedback from residents has been encouraging so far and that the Tampines Town Council is planning to extend the project to other parts of the town as part of its efforts to become a model Eco-Town by 2025.

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