Singapore: Farming for the future

When served as a delicacy, crickets look like a much less intimidating snack than you might imagine. Roasted, covered in flavors, and missing most of their six legs and wings, the insects closely resemble a grain or a nut as opposed to anything that once crawled or flew.

These are just some of the reasons behind the rising popularity of insects as an alternative protein source. But at S$6.42 for a 25-gram packet, they’re not exactly cheap. Similarly, while plant-based proteins are touted as sustainable solutions to farmed meat, their high price and limited availability make them more of a luxurious treat than a true replacement.

To achieve food security through a more feasible solution, it’s smart to go back to basics: transforming agriculture through technology, or agritech. Despite the futuristic name, agritech is nothing new. For as long as human civilizations have grown crops for food, they’ve used technology to make plants more nutritious and bountiful—from simple cross-breeding to genetic modification.

Singapore is already an indoor-farm fan, currently depending almost entirely on food imports and producing only 10 percent of food locally. To increase its food production to 30 percent by 2030, Singapore counts indoor farming as a key strategy. Some of these farms like Sustenir Agriculture and Artisan Green have already put vertical farming into practice, producing fresh herbs and salad leaves from buildings within the city.

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