Area of the Singapore city is 710 squares Km and the population is almost 5 million. It is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Most of the land is used for urban development. Hardly there are 250 acres of farmland, which is never sufficient to feed the growing population. Almost 90% of food consumption in Singapore is met by the food imported from almost 30 countries. This high dependency makes this country vulnerable when it comes to food pricing and supplies.
The only way to get rid of this problem is to utilize maximum land for food production. Prices of lands are very much high so the best and feasible way is to do vertical farming. This will make the island rich in food production.
Buyers of mini-vegetables in Singapore are assured that these vegetables were grown without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. Sky Greens was the first vertical farm in Singapore and it was awarded the honor of the first growing organic vegetable in urban environments. Key challenges for it were the lack of soil, water, limited land, higher operating costs for energy consumption. This company also received the certificate by the Food Standards Committee.
This certification will give consumers the confidence to buy local products and also it will give new recognition to Singapore’s agriculture-food industry. This certification will also be helpful to expand the market outside of Singapore. There is an increased demand for organic foods that will have the growth potential for local farms. The expected growth for global organic food and beverages is the US $320 billion by the end of 2025. This would be the fastest growth in the Asia Pacific.
It is “A-GO-GROW” Technology
It uses less water, natural resources, and energy. It is the first system is the World which is driven by the low carbon hydraulic water. It helps the environment as well. This technology helps to grow vegetables in an “A” shaped tower. The height of each tower is six meters. These towers are easy to maintain and their installation is quick. They are designed in such a way that there will be uniform sunlight distribution and air-flow will be good.
There is no need for an electrical generator this job is done by the water pulley system. It only needs one liter of water. There will be very low emissions of carbon dioxide. All the organic waste that will be present on the farm will be reused again. During the entire process, it is assumed that the production costs are kept low. Operational cost includes (Raw material in the shape of seed and soil and the electricity that will be needed to pump water throughout the structure). It has been noticed that the electricity cost for a single structure will be just $3 per month.
These vertical farming methods produce more yields than traditional farming methods. More importantly, these products are pesticides free, safe and high-quality. Sky Greens are producing a variety of vegetables and they are interested to grow more vegetables and grow this list. More importantly, in terms of land requirement, it only requires 60 ft2. This is actually equal to the size of an average bathroom. Sky Green’s venture is also supported by the government of Singapore. It has the benefit over the other urban farms around the world
Positive outcomes achieved by Sky Greens
Sky Greens basically adopted green technology for the achievement of 3R (recycle, reuse, reduce). It is also good for the environment. This will help to produce good and high-quality food for consumers. It has lots of benefits such as:
- Reduction in the amount of energy needed
- Water requirement decreases
- Transportation cost is reduced
- No risk of spoilage
- No emissions of carbon dioxide
- High-quality food
These leafy vegetables are harvested every day and distributed to retail outlets on a daily basis. The price of the vegetables produced by Sky Greens is 10 percent more than the price of imported vegetables but consumers are happy to buy locally produced vegetables. Vegetables you will receive are fresh and crispy so the price does not matter a lot.
Singapore is shipping every day’s vegetables from their neighboring countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and also from far off countries like China, Europe, and the US. So the target of Singapore’s government is to cut down this dependency. They have set the objective of reaching at least 10 percent of the local production of leafy vegetables. Currently, they are at 7 percent means they are not too far behind. They already have 37 vegetable farms and the initiative of vertical farming will definitely help them to reach the local production target of 10 percent.
This will have two benefits. The first one is it will reduce the “Food Miles” and secondly it will eliminate supply hoardings and shortages. One of the officials of the government said that we are a land scare country, and we cannot totally depend on imports. So we have to utilize the maximum of land for food production because the production of local food will act as a buffer against the disruptions.
With the opening of the first vertical farm in Singapore, they are taking farming to the next level. They believe that they can produce five times more vegetables than traditional farming. With the limited land availability and increased population of the city, they were forced to expand upwards. There is only 7 percent of the total food that is grown locally while the target of the government is to reach at least 10 percent to minimize the dependence on other countries.
This method of vertical farming produces safe and good-quality food. It requires fewer natural resources such as water and energy. Transportation cost is also reduced. It is environment-friendly. There are no emissions of carbon dioxide. Naturally grown vegetables are free of fertilizers and pesticides. In simple words, vertical farming is the future not only in Singapore but all around the world.