Singapore

Guidelines to help local farms ensure clean and green produce

They will assure public that the vegetables are fresh, free from synthetic pesticides and grown sustainably

New guidelines to help local farms ensure the production of clean and green local produce were launched yesterday.

They are meant to assure consumers that produce from local vegetable farms is fresh, free from synthetic pesticides, and grown sustainably - with efficient use of resources and without compromising the environment.

"SS 661: Specification for Clean and Green Urban Farms - Agriculture", the standard including the guidelines, was launched by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) together with Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation - Standards Development Organisation and Republic Polytechnic.

It contains criteria that urban vegetable farms have to meet in terms of farm management, techniques and practices to achieve a clean and green production system.

A clean farm production system is one that does not use pollutive farm inputs, such as synthetic pesticides, and does not leave behind undesirable residue for consumer and the environment.

A green farm production system ensures the efficient use of farm inputs and natural resources, as well as the recycling of farm waste to minimise impact on the environment and ecosystem and optimise farm production.

The standard will also help vegetable farms adopt smart farming techniques and practices to reduce wastage of resources, incorporate circularity in their resource management, and optimise operational efficiency.

Dr Tan Lee Kim, SFA director-general of food administration and deputy chief executive, said these guidelines are timely, given the increasing challenges from climate change.

"(Climate change) can put a strain on food supply chains, including our local food production... The standard will be critical in ensuring our local farms employ farming practices that make efficient use of our resources to grow more in land-scarce Singapore and are sustainable in the long run," Dr Tan added.

The SFA will work with local farmers and industry players to promote and raise awareness of the standard.

Republic Polytechnic will also launch a three-day training course from next month to assist farms in adopting the standard.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

Environment