Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the Opening Ceremony of Singrow's Agri-Genomic Farm

Speech by MOS Alvin Tan at the Opening Ceremony of Singrow's Agri-Genomic Farm

Dr Bao Shengjie, Founder, CEO and Chief Scientist, Singrow


Prof Chen Tsuhan, Deputy President (Innovation & Enterprise), NUS


Mr John Friedman, Director, AgFunder (Asia)


Distinguished guests,


Ladies and gentlemen,




1. Congrats Singrow on the opening of your Chadwick Farm!


2. You’ve come a long way. I remember visiting you last year when you were still at City Sprouts (previously known as Sprout Hub) in Redhill. And here we are at Science Park celebrating the opening of your agri-genomics farm.


3. The new farm is bigger, better, and faster. Expected to harvest 500kg of crops a month, 30% more in crop yield and productivity compared to your previous premise.


4. Growing strawberries in a tropical climate sounds like science fiction, but Singrow’s R&D effort in plant science and molecular biology has made proprietary crop varieties such as Singrow’s climate-resilient strawberries and its early-flowering dwarf cherry tomato plant possible.


  a. These are not only energy-efficient to grow, but also delicious!


Importance of a resilient and sustainable food system


5. Food security and supply chain resilience is vital for us. They’ve come into sharp focus in recent years, due to extreme weather events and geopolitical tensions.


  a. Prolonged dry spell and heatwaves have affected crop yield, causing food production to plummet across the world.


  b. The invasion of Ukraine disrupted the supply of feedstock and grains, causing price increases in wheat, corn and other feedstock as well as hunger and hardship in many countries.


6. In response, many countries are imposing export restrictions to safeguard supplies for domestic consumption. These have driven up food prices globally.


7. Singapore is not spared. We are vulnerable to such shocks as we import more than 90% of our food supply. Malaysia’s chicken export ban last year was a poignant reminder.


8. We must thus work hard to ensure we have a safe and secure supply of food, diversify our import sources and ramp up local production to buffer against overseas supply disruptions.


  a. Our “30 by 30” goal aims to strengthen our food resilience by building our agri-food industry’s capacity and capability to sustainably produce 30% of our nutritional needs locally by 2030.


Technology and innovation are critical enablers in ramping local production


9. Given our limited land, our farms need to make the most of our agri-spaces. Pleased to note that Singrow uses advanced agri-genomics tech to improve crop nutrition and yield.


  a. This allows your crops to grow in a resource-efficient manner, and results in varieties that are disease- and climate-resilient.


  b. This tech presents a significant opportunity for the agriculture industry. It be applied to other crop segments such as rice, corn, sustainable palm oil and other staple vegetables.


10. Singrow’s embrace of technology in its business model – be it through genome sequencing, gene adaption, robotics, or adopting Internet of Things (IoT). You are a trailblazer in the industry.


11. Hope that Singrow’s example will inspire others to dream big and cross new frontiers. We want to grow our agri-tech industry into a major growth engine for Singapore.




12.  Let me conclude by sharing about “Johnny Appleseed”.


a. For those not familiar, this is a true story about a man named John Chapman. John Chapman travelled across the American frontier in the late 1700s, planting and nurturing apple trees that could provide a reliable source of food for future generations.


13. The agri-tech space is rapidly evolving from indoor high-tech farming to drone technology. It has opened the door for us to turn our constraints into opportunities. Like Johnny Appleseed, I hope Singapore farms are inspired to sow the seeds of growth, embrace new tech and adopt sustainable practices to build a more resilient and efficient food system.


14. Congrats to Singrow. Hope you will continue to fly our flag high around the world, deepen your presence in export markets and create new products that will tantalize and nourish our tastebuds.


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