Can technology-enabled urban farms be a winner for S’pore?

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SINGAPORE needs to deepen its interests in food production, not just consumption, with strategic partners like Australia. One approach to this is redirecting some of its tech, digital strategies and sharing of IP to scaling up smart food zones based on technology-enabled farming (TEF).

Agricultural technology – or agtech – has become a billion-dollar industry. There has been a surge in the growth of plant factories in Japan from 39 in 2009 to 191 in 2015. It is not surprising then to find that 20 per cent of food production takes place in these urban farms. In 2016, even with some investment pullback, agtech start-ups globally drew more than US$3 billion in funding.