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Research & Technology to help Singapore produce 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030

Through research and technology, the new Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) will support the country’s effort to produce 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030.

A*Star has issued a release on how Singapore will create food sources and alternatives in the laboratory in order to meet its national goal and address food security challenges.

With Singapore’s “30 by 30” goal offers the perfect opportunity for SIFBI to pioneer safer and more nutritious foods for its citizens.

Along with other public sector players and institutes of higher learning (IHLs), SIFBI plans to boost Singapore’s local produce capabilities that will serve up sustainable food and food ingredient options, alternative proteins and novel nutrient-enriched delicacies aimed at recognising Singapore as Asia’s food innovation hub.

“It’s not just A*STAR alone in this journey. This is an audacious goal but the ecosystem is ripe and ready, and collectively, we need to wrap our minds around the challenge and tackle it head-on” said Dr Hazel Khoo, Executive Director of A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI), and Senior Director of Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 at the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

SIFBI did not have to start from scratch as several existing A*STAR research groups were brought under its umbrella. It has a host of research expertise in areas such as biotransformation, fermentation, clinical nutrition and food process engineering.

SIFBI, which was officially launched on 1 April 2020, hopes to build a dynamic food ecosystem by establishing Singapore as Asia’s go-to place for food technology development.

Through its cutting-edge biotechnology and clinical nutrition facilities, coupled with process engineering and new food safety methodologies, SIFBI will collaborate with universities and industry partners to develop new foods, food systems and ingredients. These will complement the other urban agriculture and aquaculture capabilities in the ecosystem to realise Singapore’s goals.

In addition, these efforts can collectively beef up Singapore’s economy and create innovative jobs with food enterprises in the start-up, SME and MNC space.

Government Support and Technology key in helping to reach 30 by 30 goal

Local start-ups currently supported by the government will benefit from improved access to information on food safety and novel food production processes from SIFBI.

Singapore’s agri-food industry needs to leverage R&D and adopt new climate-resilient and sustainable technologies to raise productivity and overcome resource constraints.

Technology will play a key role in helping reach the “30 by 30” goal. For example, indoor high-tech urban farms can implement smart sensors that provide crops with the right amount of light and nutrients, while data analytics will allow farms to monitor and optimise their operations.

There are also tremendous economic opportunities for Singapore to be a world leader in this area and the R&D infrastructure is well-positioned for it.

SIFBI is also looking for partners that can offer complementary strengths. These include public and private enterprises in sectors such as food processing and distribution, as well as local and overseas institutes of higher learning, which will groom talent for jobs in the industry.

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