Republic Polytechnic invests in urban farming with new diploma, lab
Republic Polytechnic (RP) is paving the way for the future of Singapore's high-tech urban farming.
On Wednesday (Jan 9), the poly launched the specialised diploma in urban agricultural technology - the first full-qualification diploma in the field.
At the launch, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Koh Poh Koon, emphasised the importance of increasing the margin of safety for Singapore's food supply through agricultural technology.
Dr Koh explained that since Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of its food supply, it is crucial to leverage on technology to minimise challenges like disruptive weather conditions and optimise crops' growth cycles.
To overcome the challenges of unpredictable weather and land scarcity, the agricultural industry has turned to urban agriculture.
Commencing in June with an inaugural batch of 25 students, the part-time diploma in applied science gives students the option of signing up for the associated SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.
The 900-hour course is ideal for students interested in a career in the industry and adult learners looking to upgrade their skills.
Dr Koh also witnessed the opening of RP's Agriculture Technology Laboratory and memorandum of understanding signing with Singapore Agro-Food Enterprises Federation.
The Agriculture Technology Laboratory is a new facility to support students in deepening their skills through hands-on training.
The lab will be equipped with indoor farming systems like vertical plane cultivation,conduit-based horizontal hydroponic nutrient film technique, tray-based horizontal hydroponic growing and substrate growing systems.
According to Mr Yeo Li Pheow, the principal of RP, the motivation behind the new course and lab stemmed from the pressing issue of food security due to Singapore's limited land area.
"In order for Singapore to be more self-sufficient and resilient, we need to increase the amount of food we produce locally and reduce our dependence on food imports," said Mr Yeo.