From the outside, there’s little to suggest the nondescript grey shipping container could help transform Singapore’s food security. Yet the city-state has high hopes for the project lurking within the 20-foot-vessel. Deposited on a gravel plot in eastern Singapore, this is the country’s first urban fish farm – and some say it could help the metropolis hit an ambitious target to produce 30 per cent of its food by 2030.

The project, called ‘Our Fish Storey’, was unveiled by the start-up Aqualita Ecotechnology and the local council this weekend. It will see the fish jade perch farmed in Tampines, a central Singapore suburb close to Changi airport, in a “litmus test” to gauge consumer interest and confirm feasibility.

“By using up spaces that are not utilised, we can actually grow fishes in an urban city – within grass plots, within empty warehouses,” Goh Chin Heng, director of local startup Aqualita Ecotechnology, told Channel News Asia. “We can easily farm fish anywhere … and can easily relocate, when the site is up, to a new place and restart a new farm very quickly.”

According to the company, one container – which costs close to £18,000 to set up, bar land costs – could produce up to 1,200kg of jade perch a year, a freshwater fish rich in Omega 3. The first harvest will be four to six months away and other varieties, including barramundi, tilapia and red snapper, could also be farmed in future.