The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, 1996) defines food security as a condition “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” It considers availability (food production, stock levels, and net trade), physical and economic access by consumers, and utilization.
Food security policies can be defined in terms of self-sufficiency or self-reliance. In general, food self-sufficiency implies meeting food needs from domestic supplies and minimizing dependence on international trade. Food self-reliance relies on international markets for availability of food in the domestic market.
According to Business Monitor International (2013), per capita food consumption in Singapore is among the highest in theregion. This, coupled with scarce natural resources and low domestic food production, means that the city-state is dependent on imports not only of raw materials but also of food.
As part of a long-term strategy based on self-reliance rather than self-sufficiency, Singapore imports most of the food the population consumes (approximately 90%). Food security strategies include diverse food sources in approximately 170 countries, localproduction, and stockpiling of essential food items such as rice. Food sources are diversified not only among countries but alsoamong zones within countries.
This article discusses food policies in Singapore in a framework of self-reliance, security, and resilience. It comprises diversification efforts, including overseas agricultural and food investments, food security and safety strategies, innovations, and international initiatives.
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