Veggies to be grown at more HDB carpark rooftops
Tender for nine sites launched amid push to raise local food production
The rooftops of nine multi-storey carparks in Singapore will be converted for use to farm vegetables and other food crops later this year.
The tender for the sites was launched yesterday by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA): five single sites in Ang Mo Kio, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Hougang and Choa Chu Kang and two cluster sites - which comprise two sites each - in Sembawang and Jurong West.
Their sizes range from 1,808 sq m - about one-third of a football field - to 3,311 sq m. Each site is up for tender for a term of three years.
For cluster sites, the successful tenderer will be awarded all the sites within the cluster.
The launch is one of the strategies adopted by the SFA to increase local food production as part of Singapore's 30 by 30 goal - to produce 30 per cent of the country's nutritional needs by 2030, said SFA and the Housing Board in a joint statement.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in a Facebook post yesterday: "With Covid-19 upon us for some time, food supply disruptions are a real risk."
That is why SFA has decided to bring forward local food production plans, also known as the 30x30 Express, he added.
Last month, SFA launched the 30x30 Express grant to help local farms accelerate the production of fish, leafy vegetables and eggs over the next six to 24 months.
Mr Masagos said: "In the meantime, we can all start showing support for local farmers now by buying local produce when grocery shopping."
During the supplementary budget debate last month, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said Covid-19 also underscored the importance of further strengthening Singapore's supply chain resilience and food security.
He added the Government will continue to ensure a stable supply of food and essential items by having a robust, multi-pronged strategy.
SFA said it will continue to work with HDB to launch more multi-storey carpark rooftop sites for urban farming by public tender in the second half of this year, a move in line with HDB's Green Towns programme which seeks to cool HDB towns through the use of greenery.
Mr Melvin Chow, senior director of SFA's food supply resilience division, said the launch of the tender for the nine sites comes in the wake of growing interest from the industry and the public towards urban farming in community spaces, following the launch of the agency's pilot multi-storey carpark rooftop farm in Ang Mo Kio last year.
Food security expert Paul Teng said the launch of the tender was a timely one. "Initiatives like this are never too late as it is possible to convert unused space - such as rooftops - into productive vegetable gardens yielding produce for consumption or sale within as short a time as six months," he said.
The success of rooftop farms, however, will depend on many factors, including the choice of vegetables to grow and the growing method, he added.