Two projects to promote locally produced food to be rolled out this year

SINGAPORE – Two pilot projects to increase awareness of and demand for locally produced food are set to be launched in the second half of this year by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

One will target first-time mothers and aim to show them the benefits of eating local produce, while the other will make identifying local produce in wet markets easier.

The two pilot projects were selected by MSE and SFA out of six proposals that were presented last year by a Citizen’s Workgroup.

Members of the public came together, alongside subject matter experts from the local agri-food industry, to discuss ideas.

The two chosen pilot projects were announced by Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor at an appreciation event for the Citizens’ Workgroup on Saturday (Feb 6).

The event was held at local sustainable farm Edible Garden City in Queenstown.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, as well as Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan, were also in attendance.

Dr Khor said: “The proposals are interesting and fresh but one thing we need is to understand, from the industry perspective, what the challenges in implementation are, so we can look at sustainability and scalability.”

The pilot project for first-time mothers, called LoveSGMums Meal, is designed to reach new mums during “one of the most important milestones in their lives when new habits are being formed”, said Dr Khor.

MSE and SFA will look into working with hospitals and caterers to introduce local produce in the confinement meals for new mothers and show them the benefits of eating local, in hopes that more households may choose local produce in the long run.

The second pilot aims to highlight local produce at wet markets – starting with one or two of them – with eye-catching visuals and attract patrons to buy them.

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Ms Stephanie Lim, 29, who works for an Indonesian palm oil company as sustainability lead, was part of the team that proposed this idea.

She said: “Actually, I wasn’t surprised that our idea was chosen. It’s fairly low cost and focuses on marketing and advertising, so the experimental element is very low. But it’s great that we are doing this.”

Ms Lim added that it will be an avenue to reach out to older shoppers at the wet markets, but “we must speak their language”.

“Maybe their priorities are different and they don’t care as much about sustainability, but if the food is tastier and fresher, they may be open to it.”

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