Aquaculture centre aims to boost Singapore's food sustainability goal
New Aquaculture Innovation Centre aims to help reach goal of locally growing 30% of food needs by 2030
In a research facility at the Aquaculture Innovation Centre (AIC) at Temasek Polytechnic (TP), about 300 crabs have been produced from a few spawning batches over the last 15 months, offering hope that the numbers of the crustacean will be given a boost in the near future.
The supply of crab to Singapore has dropped by 30 per cent after overharvesting and bad weather conditions due to global warming hurt its populations in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. And the TP project, which is still in an experimental phase, aims to boost the crustacean's numbers in a clean, fast and sustainable manner and also produce meaty versions of the animal.
The AIC, the 10th Centre of Innovation (COI), was officially opened at TP yesterday and it will play an important role in helping Singapore in its mission to locally grow 30 per cent of its food needs by 2030. Only 9 per cent of the country's fish consumption is now produced locally.
The AIC will be a collaborator, technological enabler, and training provider to small and medium-sized enterprises , government agencies and tertiary institutions.
In his keynote address yesterday, guest of honour Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said: "Food sustainability and resilience are increasingly significant issues globally. As the world population grows, these issues will only worsen if no action is taken as local food supplies have already been unable to meet demands.
"But our strong innovation ecosystem, our robust intellectual property and standard framework as well as our pro-business environment put Singapore in an excellent position to become a leading player in the urban agriculture and aquaculture industry."
Led by TP and supported by Enterprise Singapore, AIC is the first COI to utilise a consortium model.
The other eight partners are Ngee Ann, Republic and Nanyang Polytechnics, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, James Cook University, Singapore Food Agency, and Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
The centre will cooperate and co-share expertise, facilities, intellectual properties and resources with consortium members to serve the needs of local aquaculture enterprises.
Conferences, workshops and joint research and development efforts are in the pipeline, and the AIC will also train aquaculture farmers of the future while facilitating the open-sharing of knowledge.
Dr Lee Chee Wee, the AIC centre director, said: "Singapore has the ability to set the standards so when our companies go out of the country to sell their products or to produce outside of Singapore, they will be in the same league as market leaders in terms of quality."