Opening Address by Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade), at the Supply Chain Matters 2015 –Sustainability Leadership in the Modern Supply Chain on Friday, 9 October 2015, 10.00am at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you at Cargill’s event today.
Importance of sustainable food supply chains
2. Sustainable supply chains are essential in today’s world to ensure food security. To meet rising demand, global food production will have to increase by more than 60% in order to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050. This level of food production and distribution will strain the world’s already depleting natural resources. Therefore, it is critical to build up sustainable regional and global supply chains to ensure food security.
Singapore’s commitment to food security
3. As a small country, Singapore has to import more than 90% of our food. Notwithstanding this, we were ranked the second-most food secure country in the world by The Economist Intelligence Unit, behind only the US. This puts us ahead of major food-producing countries and the achievement is a testament to our commitment to food security.
Singapore’s role in the modern supply chain
4. How did we achieve this? In many ways. Singapore’s food security outcomes leveraged our strengths as a global trading hub for agri-commodities. Let me elaborate on our strategies.
5. First, we aim to minimise the risk of food supply disruption by diversifying our food sources. Singapore is strategically located between major consuming markets such as China and major producers in Southeast Asia. Ranked 1st in Asia in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, this makes us well positioned to connect supply and demand in an efficient manner. Thus, enabling cost competitive supplies to be delivered to customers. Leveraging our logistics connectivity, Singapore is able to import from more than 160 countries to ensure a resilient supply of safe food in the short and long term.
6. Second, we actively invest in optimising local and regional production. In doing so, we forge active partnerships between technology providers and agribusinesses to create sustainable solutions that raise production or distribution efficiency. As the top innovation hub in the Southeast Asia and Oceania region, Singapore offers an enabling environment for leading agricultural companies to conduct research and development activities. Our competitive financing, robust regulatory framework and talent pool of professionals are further pull factors for businesses to anchor their key activities in Singapore.
7. Third, we contribute to shaping regional food supply flows by leveraging an extensive network of agri-commodity traders with in-depth market and logistical knowledge. Today, Singapore is home to over 70% of the top agri-commodities trading companies, including Cargill, and coordinates over 20% of global agri-commodities trade. This provides a critical mass of decision makers that help companies find the right partners and expertise to collaborate along various parts of the supply chain thus facilitating better national food security outcomes. We also work closely with international organisations such as United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation and have a positive reputation for food safety. In recognition of our effective food safety system and expertise, our Veterinary Public Health Centre (VPHC) was endorsed by World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE] its first Collaborating Centre for Food Safety in Southeast Asia last year.
Need for private sector leadership
8. Singapore is committed to building an even more vibrant agri-commodity trading hub and to further contribute to the sustainability of regional food supply chains. And we encourage our private sector leaders to work with us. On this note, I am heartened to know that more and more agri-companies here are evolving their business models to incorporate sustainability as a corporate strategy.
9. Our long and meaningful partnership with Cargill is a good example. Since it was established in 1981, Cargill Singapore has grown to a team of 500 employees. We are pleased that Cargill has chosen Singapore as your regional hub in the Asia Pacific, out of which you coordinate your supply chains while helping to advance best practices in sustainability through industry events such as this morning’s.
10. In closing, I would like to congratulate Cargill on its 150th anniversary and we look forward to even deeper collaborations with you in the years to come.
11. I wish all of you a fruitful discussion. Thank you.
 FAO, World Agriculture: towards 2030/2050: the 2012 revision
 2015 Economist Intelligence Unit Global Food Security Index
 2014 INSEAD Global Innovation Index