Singapore Government Press Release Media Division, Ministry of Information and The Arts, 36th
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SPEECH BY MR KOO TSAI KEE, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AT THE OPENING OF AERO-GREEN TECHNOLOGY (S) PTE FARM ON MONDAY, 10 MAR 97 AT 10.30 AM AT THE LIM CHU KANG AGROTECHNOLOGY PARK
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
2 We live in a small country which can only afford a small portion of land for agricultural development . We must therefore strive to maximise the economic use of the limited land set aside for agriculture. We can achieve this objective by using modern technology.
3 The Government has pioneered the development of agrotechnology parks and high-tech modern farming systems that apply innovative technology for intensive farming. It has developed six agrotech parks covering some 1,600ha. The high-tech farms in these parks are highly efficient, productive and environmentally friendly. They produce fresh, high quality food that gives good value for money. Indeed, produce from these agrotech farms must withstand the competition from foreign imports.
4 Experience has shown that we can make Agrotechnology technology parks succeed commercially . However, more can be done to develop Singapore into a regional centre of excellence for agrotech services. We can do this by continually monitoring, harvesting and exploiting the latest advances in technology to strengthen our agrotech programme.
5 Our agrotech programme will and can provide the springboard for companies to undertake R&D in agrotechnology and agri-biotechnology. It will also help them to launch new agrotech services. There are good business opportunities in the agricultural sector in Singapore as well as in the region. This is reflected by the fact that although Asia's population accounts for 53% of the world's population, it has only 30% of the world's agricultural land. And as Asians become richer, they would consume more of everything including meat and vegetables, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Companies can tap this enormous market by improving productivity in the agricultural sector through cutting edge Research and Development.
6 The Government will continue to promote and provide support to the development and commercialisation of technology in the agricultural sector. Currently, the Primary Production Department of the Ministry of National Development is developing a new Agri-Bio Park in Lim Chu Kang. This is yet another step forward in our comprehensive agrotech programme to develop Singapore into a regional centre of excellence for agrotech services. The park will provide the impetus for the development of a cluster of agri-biotech companies in Singapore. It will provide opportunities for local companies and MNCs to undertake R&D, and further develop and commercialise their technology. The Agri-Bio Park will be ready by next year.
7 The development and commercialisation of technology in the agricultural sector is a team effort between government agencies and the private sector. Today's launch of the Aero-Green Technology's aeroponics farm is a good example of what the private sector can hope to harvest when they participate in, and support, the Government's agrotech programme. I understand that as a result of this collaboration, the company now has the capability - a world first - to grow temperate vegetable like lettuces in the tropics. The technology demonstrated at this farm shows two things; what it can do with appropriate technology , and what the private sector and government agencies can do together as a team to commercialise agrotechnology in Singapore.
8 I understand that the aeroponics technology used in the aeroponics farm was developed as a collaborative effort between the Primary Production Department, the Nanyang Technological University and the Productivity and Standards Board with the support of the National Science and Technology Board. What started off as a pilot project was subsequently taken up by Aero-Green Technology for commercialisation in this new 5-hectare farm.
9 The aeroponics system that you have developed has great potential for application in land-scarce Singapore. It can potentially be used for growing vegetables on the roof tops of our buildings. I am pleased to learn that some foreign countries have shown an interest in acquiring the technology from your company.
10 I congratulate all the agencies involved for your successful efforts in bringing this important project to fruition. The entrepreneurship, innovative spirit and teamwork displayed in this project augurs well for the development of Singapore as a regional centre for agrotech services. I encourage more companies to come forward and participate in the Government's agrotech programme. We will continue to work with agencies such as the Institute of Molecular Agrobiology, the National Science and Technology Board, the Economic Development Board and our tertiary institutions to promote and provide support to the development and commercialisatiion of technology in the agricultural sector.
11 It is now my pleasure to declare the Aero-Green Technology aeroponics farm open.