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Rooftop apartment in Singapore on May 27, 2020. The small island nation is natural and imports more than 90 percent of its food from more than 170 countries and territories.

Lauryn Ishak | Bloomberg | Vadivelu Comedy Getty Images

Singapore is known for its diversity of street food and local food, but many may not realize that it is facing an ongoing problem – food security.

An increasingly serious issue has been brought to the forefront of the country after a ban on food exports – in particular, a ban on poultry exports by neighboring Malaysia, which Singapore imports 34 percent of its poultry.

As a small island nation, Singapore is resource-poor – importing more than 90 percent of food from more than 170 countries and territories.

As the country is in danger of being hit by high winds, the government has launched a “30 by 30” plan to generate 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030.

But the world is already feeling the effects of rising commodity prices.

Food prices rose 4.1% in April from last year, up 3.3% in March, the Singapore Monetary Authority and the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

Global situation

Owners of Hawker stores, in particular, are beginning to feel the pinch as they are under pressure to keep prices low for the public. To see also : This pet food is being pulled from Walmart and target shelves despite the scarcity – do not eat this.

Remus Seow, owner of Fukudon, a Japanese-style rice shop, is one example.

Over the past six months, the prices of consumer goods such as cooking oil, eggs and meat, have risen between 30% and 45%.

Seow recently raised prices for the first time since opening his store two years ago. If prices continue to rise, 20% to 35% of consumers may not control his store again, he said.

The Singapore Monetary Authority said rising global food prices are expected to continue to drive local inflation beyond 2022.

Global food prices had already begun to rise during the epidemic, but the Ukrainian war intensified this pressure.

Food shortages will continue in the near future, and perhaps until the next year or two, said Dil Rahut, head of research at the Asia Development Bank Institute.

Some countries cannot quickly jump in to fill the gap left by Ukraine and Russia because it takes up to a year to grow new crops, Rahut said.

Similarly, Paul Teng, adjunct senior at S. The Rajaratnam School of International Studies, has warned that even if the war ends, food prices will not immediately return to prices before the start.

This is because factors such as rising fuel prices, labor shortages, and disruption to supply will increase food shortages, keeping prices high, said Teng.

The World Bank says food prices are expected to rise by 20 percent before the fall of 2023.

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Stumbling blocks  

While Singapore is still doing well in maintaining food security, its future is uncertain, Teng said. On the same subject : Researchers develop antimicrobial, plant-based food package designed to replace plastic: Starch-based fibers improve protection and reduce damage.

“Singapore has been reducing agriculture and importing food,” he said. “Now we have made U-turns and started climbing, but this takes time to pay,” he added.

The “30 by 30” program aims to give Singapore a self-sufficient level of mobility in difficult times, but that will not be enough to replace it completely abroad, Teng said.

This is because the government has decided to invest more in agricultural production and household income rather than invest in agriculture, he added.

“As long as you have the money, and even without the hassle of marketing, you can always buy food elsewhere because the amount we need (slightly) is not very high,” Teng said.

But while it may be “technology and technology” making Singapore achieve its goal, two issues remain – prices and consumer attitudes towards “new food,” he added.

Teng said consumers are concerned about buying “natural food” and may not accept “new food” – such as large chicken in the laboratory and other proteins – which is a big part of the “30 by 30” goal.

But Rahut warned that achieving the goal is “extremely difficult” because the deadline is approaching, and Singapore is still producing only 10 percent of its food needs.

People will continue to buy food products abroad if they are cheaper than local products unless the government is able to provide assistance with the products, he added.

Seow, too, said he would not buy local products unless prices could match those exported.

“But the only (future) way is for the government to continue with it and do its best to keep the prices, types, and demand of the goods we need,” he said. “And then people will gradually adopt (local products).”

Rahut also suggested that marketing local crops as a quality and nutritious food could encourage consumers to buy them at a higher price, as some are willing to pay more for organic products.

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What can Singapore do?

Both Teng and Rahut said the government could, in the short term, provide safety nets for the needy, for example by paying money or votes. See the article : Pinnertest Food Intolerance Test Review.

But Teng added that one of Singapore’s strengths points is that despite its efforts to diversify, it still relies on one or two countries.

For example, Singapore imported 48 percent of its chickens from Brazil, and 34% from Malaysia in 2021, the Singapore Food Agency said.

Teng also said that most chickens imported from Malaysia are live chickens, while some imported chickens from Brazil and other countries are frozen.

At the regulatory stage, therefore, it is important to have a wide range of imported produce, said Teng, as the main source of live poultry comes from abroad.

The government could also encourage other Singaporean companies to grow food overseas and enter into agreements with other governments to ensure that crops are not banned from abroad, he added.

“The great solution for photography is to make sure that the countries that produce, export, have more (food), and there are many ways we can help other countries to do that,” Teng said.

Similarly, Rahut added that as Singapore is a country with advanced technology, it could focus on helping other countries improve their food processing systems.

“This will not only help Singapore stabilize its food security and food security, but also global food security and food prices,” Rahut said.

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