How Cambodia can play a major role in ensuring Singapore’s food security

Global food security is a straightforward challenge: by 2050, the world must feed 9 billion people. The food demand will be 60% higher than it is now.

Everyone needs food, which is pretty clear. But the fact that it is so hard to get enough food to a country’s population and to the whole world’s population shows why food security is such a top priority for all countries, whether they are developing or developed.

In short, this is a worldwide issue because it affects almost every aspect of an economy and society.

Food security is defined as having access to safe and healthy food. It is a complex term that evaluates various food aspects such as production, processing, distribution, and consumption. Food security covers all points of access to the food supply, from physical to economic and social.

During the pandemic, food prices around the world had already started to rise, and the war in Ukraine has made the already rising prices even worse.

Food shortages are expected to persist in the near future and could even stretch into the next year or two. As a result of unanticipated occurrences, the availability of food in the future is uncertain. This will ultimately result in higher inflation rates.

Singapore, as a small island nation, is deficient in natural resources. The country gets its food from around 170 different countries and regions, which accounts for 90% of its total food supply. According to the Singapore Food Agency, 48% of Singapore’s chickens came from Brazil, and 34% were imported from Malaysia in 2021.

Only 1% of Singapore’s land is suitable for food production, and the country must import the 90% of its food from a world that is becoming more and more unstable. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of food security.

The following steps must be followed for maximum food security to be attained:

A. Ensure Sufficient Food Supply

B. Always have fresh food available

C. Facilitate food distribution to those in need

Although Singapore has maintained food security very well so far, its future in this matter is uncertain. Countries that do not have sufficient land for agriculture are obligated to turn to their neighbors for food production so that they can avoid such a situation. For example, there is enough land in Cambodia for agricultural purposes. 

In 2020, the World Bank’s collection of development indicators based on official sources said that 32.8% of Cambodia’s land area would be used for agriculture. Cambodia’s geographical assets are favorable for agricultural development. The majority of the population lives in lowlands and hills where freshwater (from rivers, lakes, and underground sources) is abundant.

Furthermore, Cambodia has a favorable environment due to substantial rainfall throughout the monsoon season (May to October), with temperatures remaining moderate during this time. These circumstances are good for growing rice, cassava, rubber, and a variety of tropical fruits.

The World Bank’s compilation of development indicators, based on credible sources, estimated that 31.15% of Cambodians are employed in agriculture. This shows the agriculture sector will always have access to skilled workers. 

On the other hand, Singapore is a technological and financial powerhouse and can assist in enhancing food production facilities in Cambodia. If all elements are combined, it will be favorable to both countries. This will not only benefit Singapore and Cambodia but also the rest of the world by increasing food security and bringing down food prices.

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