April 27, 2021
Singapore's latest R&D boost spotlights aquaculture's role in food security
In a statement by Singapore Food Agency (SFA) yesterday, a total of S$23 million (~US$17.33 million; S$1 = US$0.75) is going to 12 research projects on sustainable urban food production, The Straits Times reported. Eight of the proposals are related to aquaculture, while the rest would study how vegetables can be grown more efficiently in an urban setting.
Climate change, growing populations and a reduction in arable land were cited by SFA chief executive Lim Kok Thai as challenges impacting global food security.
"Research and development holds the key to the future of food," says Lim.
The research proposals include subjects such as genetics, which involves selective breeding of barramundi with better growth and fillet traits, and nutrition, which involves improving fish feed for red snappers.
Scientists from Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research are also working with UVaxx, a Singapore-based company that develops autogenous vaccines for aquaculture use, to develop one against the scale drop disease in Asian seabass, one of the most common viral disease in seabass.
UVaxx general manager Markus Schrittwieser underscores that vaccination is key to increasing production in a sustainable aquaculture industry. "If seabass are protected against all major threats, including scale drop disease, farmers can move on to the next level," he says.
Commenting on the awarded proposals, SFA says that they demonstrated good potential to be scaled up and applied in Singapore and other countries based on their track record, industry experience and research team.
Singapore has set a target to boost local food production, with the aim of producing 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030.