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Photo report

Singapore: "Rooftop greenhouse made more sense due to lower energy requirements"

“At ComCrop, our mandate is to grow cost-effective vegetables and bring these into Singapore’s food chain to offset the volume of imports,” says Peter Barber, CEO, and co-owner of ComCrop.

Peter Barber

ComCrop is reportedly the first and only commercial rooftop farm in Singapore, with 5 CEA greenhouses spanning 2.800 square meters. ComCrop has 8.000 plants moving around the greenhouse every day between seeding, germination, nursery, and finally, production. The entire process takes 25 days. Plants are harvested with the roots attached to increase shelf life and preserve the plants’ nutritional value.

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“We are trying to be as cost competitive as possible while providing a higher quality as we are growing close to the consumers and then harvesting and delivering within the same day. Our products have a longer shelf life, grow only in natural sunlight, and do not use pesticides,” explained Peter.

The greenhouse facilities are seen on top of the building

Why a rooftop greenhouse?
While vertical farming is on the rise in many densely populated countries, ComCrop opted for a rooftop greenhouse model for multiple reasons. First of all, a rooftop greenhouse allowed the company to capitalize on unused urban spaces and provide meaningful employment to locals. Secondly, a rooftop greenhouse simply made more sense from an operational standpoint due to lower energy requirements, thus lower operating expenses.

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“In Singapore, energy for commercial operations costs $0.36/kW due to a recent doubling in electricity rates. Whereas a vertical farm may allow higher planting density, running climate control 24/7 and powering lights is very expensive and wouldn’t allow us to be price competitive with our produce,” Peter explains.

ComCrop visited by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
In early October 2022, ComCrop launched its 2.800-square-meter hybrid greenhouse Complex that has increased its production capacity from 20 tons per year to 20 tons per month, most of which is sold through FairPrice Supermarkets.

At the Rooftop Greenhouse Complex launch, ComCrop was honored to host Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment. In her address to the launch’s attendees, Minister Fu highlighted that ComCrop was one of seven farming companies supported by the Singapore Green Plan 2030, also known as “30 by 30”, which aims to build Singapore’s food production capacity to supply 30% of the country’s nutritional needs locally by 2030. Of these seven companies, ComCrop is the first to have launched its project and begun production.

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“ComCrop has been one of the pioneers of urban farming in Singapore. I am pleased to note that ComCrop is the first of the grant recipients to launch its project, its new hybrid greenhouse facility,” noted Minister Fu.

“Singapore wants to position itself as a global food production center by implementing modern technologies. If we put the right effort and investment into this, we can be successful,” says Peter. “At ComCrop, we want to build more of these farms to supply our own markets and maybe even export someday.”

Consumers can purchase ComCrop’s products online via RedMart or in-store at FairFrice Finest Supermarkets. As the company builds new rooftop greenhouses, the goal will be to have dedicated production for supermarkets, hotels, and other consumer types by customizing the packs and products accordingly.

For more information:
Peter Barber, CEO, and Co-Owner
[email protected]