New farming school to develop talent in Singapore's agri-tech sector

When his business folded in June 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. S. Shagihan, 56, needed to seek new pastures for a living. Eight years ago, he was keen on a farming business but opted to start a venture in food and beverage automation because he felt opportunities in agriculture were limited.

But Singapore's emphasis on producing its own food since then has rekindled his interest in farming and prompted him to sign up for full-time training in agriculture technology (agri-tech).

He is one of 119 trainees in a new agri-tech training facility at 60 Benoi Road, near Joo Koon MRT station, which was launched on Thursday (Sept 16) to develop talent for the industry. It is part of the national effort led by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) LearningHub to meet Singapore's goal of producing 30 percent of its nutritional needs by 2030 for the country to become food-resilient.

NTUC LearningHub chairman Eugene Wong said at the launch that training is an important part of ensuring the country's agricultural goals are met. He said 97 percent of some 300 survey respondents felt it was important for Singapore to produce its own food.

Almost 90 percent of respondents not in the agri-tech sector said it is a promising industry for career growth and development, which Mr. Wong said was key to the decision to create a training facility.

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