Sunday, December 23, 2018

Security of food supplies

Singapore now has to worry about food security.

Malaysia used to be our main source of supply for chicken, eggs, fish and vegetables.

The supply will be disrupted by an export ban placed by their govt for four months in a year. They gave the reason of local shortages during the monsoon seasons. But it is also partly due to the recent dispute over the water and air access.

Singapore is diversifying its sources of food supply. It is now discussing with the Philippines on increasing imports of these products from that country.

But the cost of the products will be higher, due to distance. There are also health and food safety issues to be dealt with.

Supplies from the Philippines could also be disrupted due to weather and political reasons.

We should also expand our sources to include most Asean countries.

A better solution is an agreement for the long term production and purchase of these food supplies.

The farmers in these countries will benefit from the guaranteed prices that are provided in long term contracts. Their livelihood will not be subject to uncertainties of supply and demand.

In the old days, the buyers benefit by the uncertainty, which could depress prices due to over production by the farmers.

Those days will be gone. The balance of power will go to the producers. In times of shortage, the prices can shoot up many times.

We need to pay more for the assurance of a steady supply.

It is clear that prices of food will now increase, and by a big margin. It will add to the high cost of living in Singapore.

Will our govt be able to find a suitable response? If not, the high cost of living will hit hard on the people.

Tan Kin Lian

1 comment:

fairplay said...

We have the skill to operate high density chicken farming for eggs and also high rise vegetable growing. Due to the recent disruption of food supplies, we should scale up our egg and vegetable production to meet local demand. This would ensure our food security and increase employment opportunities at home.
If each time food supplies are curtailed as a threat, we should produce our own or change sources permanently. Perhaps, this will end the silly game in future.

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