“Last month when asked about the current drought in the United States Midwest which is affecting corn and soybean crops, Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development and chairman of Retail Prices Working Group said it is not likely to have an impact here in the near term.
This is because Singapore imports a negligible amount corn, and only seven per cent of its soy beans from the US.
But a sustained price hike for the grains, which are used for animal feed, he said, may raise commodity prices in the long term.
On 30 August BBC Online reported …
Global food prices have leapt by 10% in the month of July, raising fears of soaring prices …
The price of key grains such as corn, wheat and soybean saw the most dramatic increases, described by the World Bank president as “historic”.
So the issue is not even that only in the long term food prices here will rise, but how soon. That it will rise in “the near term”, despite his denial, is a probability.”
Came across this interesting article about food. I ever blogged on this issue. I feel that we need to seriously look into our long term food supply. We should not treat this issue lightly. It is also for the long term security of our country.
This afternoon, I came across a TV programme where our true blue Singapore daughter Ivy Singh-Lim aka Gentle Warrior Farmer was interviewed in her 10 acres Bollywood Veggies farm at Kranji. The farm is on a 20-yr old lease from the govt.
If I remember correctly, she was quoted as saying that currently we produce about 5% of total domestic farm produce. We used to be able to produce more than enough even with the excess exported.
Due to the rapid development and high costs of land in Singapore, primary farming is slowly phased out. Only few pockets of land concentrated in Kranji and Lim Chu Kang and Neo Tiew areas are used for farming on short term leases from the state. I believe my fren, Patriot is one of those who have given up farming when his land was acquired for resettlement and development in the old Somapah area years ago.
Since our land is so limited and expensive; is there any way to ensure sufficient self supply in terms of farm produce like in those days? One way to go is organic farming or hypochondriac farming where no soil is needed. This is one area where we should seriously consider as an option.
So many factories have shifted and relocated elsewhere. I have seen large empty JTC flatted factories in Bedok area, Eunos, Kallang etc demolised. If you go to Bedok near to the SBS depot, large tracks of empty land used to have low storey light industry factory also gone.
Could we build more high rise buildings designed for organic farming like those demolished JTC flatted factories? We could use high tech for such farming. Maybe, we could even simulate temperate countries by using air-con to grow some of those crops only found in those countries. It could provide us with self-sufficiency in farm produce and also create more jobs for our citizens.
I was talking to some of my colleagues about growing organic food. That idea then came about. Our think-tanks and govt depts should devote more resources and study this food issue. Remember Thailand banned the sale of rice to us some time ago? It is due to excessive flooding that resulted in poor rice harvest leading to the banning of rice export. We were in panic mode then. Everyone started to hoard rice and supermarkets ran out of rice stock!
Due to climate change, there will be more extreme weather havoc leading to irregular and unpredictable food production. The urgency is getting more acute as we experience more serious climate changes ahead.
Let’s discuss about this issue. If you have any idea, you are welcome to post your comments and share with us.