Hotels get produce from their aquaponics garden
Fairmont and Swissotel The Stamford's garden will supply 30% of their veggie needs
Instead of importing produce, the chefs at the Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford hotels can simply pick the ones grown on their own rooftop.
The urban aquaponics garden was launched by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Environment and Water Resources yesterday, who said it was the first time "an aquaponics installation of this scale has been set up by a hotel in Singapore".
Aquaponics combines aquaculture, the growing of fish and other aquatic life, with hydroponics, which is growing plants without soil.
The 450 sq m rooftop garden has substantially higher output from less water, less land use and less labour. It is home to more than 40 species of leafy vegetables and herbs and about 1,600 red tilapias.
In 10 months, the garden, which was set up last month, will supply 30 per cent of the hotels' vegetable needs and 10 per cent of its fish.
It will be able to produce 1,200kg of vegetables and 350kg of fish monthly once it is fully operational.
The move from soil to aquaponics comes in support of Singapore's "30 by 30" goal to have one-third of Singapore's food needs home-grown by 2030.
Dr Khor said: "(The 30-by-30 vision) is an ambitious target, considering that we currently produce less than 10 per cent locally. Achieving this vision would require our agri-food industry to transform and adopt new solutions."
The rooftop garden has a closed-loop system, where fish waste becomes fertiliser for the vegetables and the roots of the vegetables clean the water for the fish.
The garden's caretaker, Mr James Lam, 59, said: "One of the key differences between taking care of traditional soil gardens and the new aquaponics garden is instead of having to physically water the plants, I need to ensure the nutrient levels of the water are balanced."
The fish will be ready for its first harvest by March next year.
The general manager of Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford, Mr Marcus Hanna, said: "Besides farming food, the garden also provides a good opportunity for learning, with plans to work with schools to conduct tours of the garden to promote sustainable agriculture."
Dr Khor added that a total of 107 local farms have benefited from the $63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund to help them boost yields and increase production capabilities.