betty August 3, 2022

SINGAPORE – A new urban farm that is able to produce 33 tonnes of leafy greens annually within a compact space was launched on Wednesday (Aug 3).

Known as GroGrace, the farm is 650 sq m (about the size of 1½ basketball courts), with four growing floors, and is about four times more productive than conventional indoor farms with its ability to produce 70kg of leafy greens per sq m.

Based on data from Singapore Food Agency, local indoor farms are able to produce 16kg of vegetables per sq m.

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor, who was guest of honour at the launch event, said the farm is one of the beneficiaries of the Singapore Food Agency’s $50 million Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF).

The fund was launched in 2014 to help farmers boost yields and increase production capabilities to meet Singapore’s 30 by 30 goal of producing 30 per cent of local nutritional needs by 2030.

The APF has supported 132 companies in adopting high-tech equipment, farming systems and the test-bedding of technologies to help urban farms innovate, she added.

Dr Khor noted that GroGrace has received funding to implement its dry hydroponics systems – where plants are planted above water to enable stronger root development.

This also creates a dryer microclimate around the leaves, so that the plant can absorb nutrients better.

“The farm integrates multiple layers of dry hydroponics systems with Dutch horticulture technologies, which has the potential to game-change farming towards higher productivity and sustainability,” said Dr Khor.

In 2021, the APF was replaced by a new $60 million Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund, which co-funds a higher quantum over the next five years for a wider range of food types to adopt productive and sustainable technologies and advanced farming systems.

Dr Khor said that $3.8 million has been committed so far, which funds a total of 13 projects.

The GroGrace farm, launched by Urban Farming Partners Singapore (UFPSG) – a collaboration between Singapore and the Netherlands to provide holistic solutions to the indoor farming industry – also serves as a research and development centre, said UFPSG’s co-founder and chief executive Grace Lim.

She said the farm will be fully operational by October and will soon be expanding from lettuce to other types of produce such as leeks, cabbage and broccoli.