MOST people are used to a small range of bananas available in supermarkets that are perfectly shaped and are predictable in form and flavour.
But wild bananas can be quite different compared to their GMO ((genetically modified organisms) brethren in the supermarket.
The downside to living in the city is the fact that many people lose touch with their roots. Literal roots, like in vegetables and plants, as well as livestock and other produce that keep us fed and nourished.
According to the 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects, released by the United Nations, 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, a further 2.5 billion could be added to urban populations, which would account for 66% of the world’s population.
Food security is an ongoing issue for Singapore, which, despite its low fertility rate, has seen its population grow through managed immigration practices.
More people will require more food, and as the cost of living in Singapore continues to rise, imports may become increasingly expensive.
While most produce are imported into Singapore, there is a growing group of entrepreneurs who believes that vertical farming could serve an important role in feeding Singaporeans more economically.
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Dato’ Joel Low, co-founder and CEO of Agrivo, has been investing in high-tech farming methods. He grows a range of herbs and vegetables in a vertical farm in Singapore, and he believes enough of these facilities should keep Singapore’s plates full of greens.
While some may argue that GMO produce are man made, Low feels that the trade off is worth it.
“Would you rather have vegetables that look good but are full of pesticides or vegetables that may not have as much nutrients, but are free of chemicals?”
From a sommelier at a high-end restaurant in Singapore, Low found his interest in viticulture expanded to other land uses. And he found himself in Cambodia’s Kampot region, investing in the high-end pepper cultivated there.
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He talks about the Singapore brand opening doors for new opportunities. While in Kampot, he met with the Hainan Pepper Association, and is now its vice president.
He foresees more opportunities resulting from China’s Belt And Road initiative, and the ease with which goods and services can travel as a result.
But increasingly, he’s a firm believer that agriculture, will become an important part of Singapore’s business environment.