Singapore

Nine HDB carpark rooftops to be converted into farms

Tenders were awarded for urban farming by the Singapore Food Agency

Parked cars will make way for growing vegetables as tenders were awarded for urban farming at nine carpark rooftops by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) yesterday.

The sites, which are rooftops of Housing Board multi-storey carparks, comprise five single sites and two clusters of two sites each.

They were awarded to six tenderers.

Each site is up for tender for a term of up to three years.

The highest tender of $90,000 for annual rent was awarded to IT Meng Landscape and Construction, for a cluster site in Jurong West, with one site spanning a total area of 3,311 sq m - three-fifths of a football field - and the other at 2,974 sq m.

Other carpark locations included Choa Chu Kang, Tampines, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Sembawang.

Mr Lim Kok Thai, chief executive of SFA, said: "The successful tenderers' proposals included hydroponic and vertical farming systems with a variety of innovative features such as IoT (Internet of Things), blockchain technology and automated climate control.

"With these farming systems, the sites have the potential to collectively produce around 1.6 million kg of vegetables annually."

He hoped that the transformation of the rooftops to vegetable farms will contribute to Singapore's "30 by 30 goal" - to produce 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030.

Ms Phoebe Xie, 30, is director and co-founder of local urban technology company AbyFarm, one of the six that successfully tendered for the carpark rooftop spaces.

With a 3,171 sq m site in Ang Mo Kio, it hopes to begin construction of the farm in the next few months, and to have its launch date within the first half of next year.

"The farm will be entirely automated, with real-time technology used to control the environment within the greenhouse, and to consistently monitor the crops and identify early the possibility of bad crops, which will ensure its quality," she said.

With an expected yield of 200,000kg of fruits and vegetables each year, the company is looking to harvest local favourites, such as kang kong and kai lan as well as mushrooms, figs and Japanese melon.

HDB has studied the parking demand in these areas and ascertained that residents' parking needs will not be compromised.

SFA said it will be working with HDB to tender out more carpark rooftop sites for urban farming in the fourth quarter of this year.

There are currently four SFA-licensed rooftop farms in Singapore, including a pilot urban farm launched last year at a multi-storey carpark in Ang Mo Kio.

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