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Meeting Singapore’s ’30 by 30′ food goals: Strengthening food security with aquaculture

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By Milthon Lujan

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted Singapore’s vulnerability to global food supply disruptions – whether it’s price fluctuations or agricultural countries restricting food exports over concerns for their own food security.

Professor Dean Jerry – Director of the ARC Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding, and Director of the Tropical Futures Institute at James Cook University (JCU) in Singapore – said, “For a country like Singapore that is so dependent on imports as its food supply, trade embargoes and geopolitical manoeuvring may impact on the ability of nations to import food in the future. It is thus extremely important that the country builds a buffer and has a degree of resilience to any perturbations in its food supply in the future.”

Singapore is pursuing three broad solutions to safeguard the nation from its food supply vulnerabilities – “Diversify Import Sources,” “Grow Local” and “Grow Overseas.”

One of these solutions, “Grow Local,” involves boosting local production. In 2019, Singapore made plans to reduce its dependence on food imports with its ‘30 by 30’ strategy. This aims to have 30 per cent of Singapore’s nutritional needs produced locally by 2030, up from approximately 10 per cent today. Professor Jerry adds that “Aquaculture is the ideal industry to foster to help meet Singapore’s food security goals.”

Aquaculture, or the farming of aquatic organisms such as barramundi and tilapia, plays a significant role in local food production due to its high productivity and sustainability. JCU has highly-skilled scientists and researchers covering all the major pillars of aquaculture research and development needs, providing world-class multidisciplinary focused solutions for the local aquaculture industry.

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What’s more, the University has cutting-edge tools and facilities, which can add great value to Singapore’s aquaculture R&D ecosystem. Notably, the Aquaculture Research and Teaching Facility — which launched in the Singapore campus of JCU in 2019 — allows us to expand our understanding of aquatic life, and identify more efficient methods of aquaculture production.

To truly support the nation’s food security goals, JCU is also committed to partnering with other innovative companies and institutions. For example, JCU is an important part of the nine institutions supporting the Aquaculture Innovation Centre. This allows JCU to share our vast knowledge and experience in aquaculture, particularly in the application of genetics to improve the productivity of aquatic organisms.

Through R&D, innovation and close partnerships with other players in the industry, JCU is leading aquaculture efforts in the nation, paving the way for greater food security for Singapore.

Find out more about the Tropical Futures Institute here

For further information on areas of research strength in Aquaculture and future collaborative opportunities at James Cook University in Singapore, click here

Contacts
Professor Dean Jerry dean.jerry@jcu.edu.au

Source: James Cook University

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