A fully automated farming facility was launched at ITE College East on Thursday, as part of Singapore’s efforts to boost training in high-productivity agricultural skills. Known as the Horticulture Technology Hub, or HortITEch Hub, the 92 sq m lab – about the size of a four-room HDB flat – will train students in the agriculture and aquaculture technology work-study diploma course that will be launched in 2023.
ITE College East students who are now in courses such as horticulture, food science and even mechanical engineering will be involved in its day-to-day maintenance. ITE College East School of Engineering director Alfred Tan said that around 500 students will benefit from the additional exposure provided by the new hub.
Referring to applied food science students, Mr Tan said: “These students can go back to their labs to do some testing on the nutritional value of the crops grown here.” He added that entrepreneurship opportunities for students are possible, as the greens harvested from the lab can be sold.
Student Ethann Lew, 17, said that being given the opportunity to train at such a facility will equip him with relevant skills come 2030. The mechanical engineering student said: “If Singapore really becomes an agri-tech hub by 2030, I believe that many countries, especially those with a lot of land, will reach out to us to maximise their yields and borrow our expertise.”
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