VIDEO: Singapore to boost status as a food and nutrition powerhouse

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Increasing high-tech jobs, boosting exports and helping home-grown brands soar are among the priorities for Singapore as it seeks to cement its status as South East Asia's premier food industry hub.

In the latest edition of our Asia Food Leader's video series we met with Tong Shuh Lan, the director for food at SPRING Singapore - a body under the Ministry of Trade charge with implementing key aspects of the City State's food manufacturing “transformation map” .

The map sets out a number of priorities to strengthen Singapore's role as regional centre of food manufacturing, and the home to a raft of globally competitive domestic food companies.

Watch the video to hear Tong discuss how she gauges the current state of the food manufacturing industry and where she sees the main areas for improvement.

She also discusses where local firms can look to boost exports and how smart technology will herald a new era of sought-after jobs.

The role of the region's MNCs is also assessed, with Tong expressing her desire to see greater collaboration between firms big and small in a mutually beneficial manner.

Productivity gains

Under the transformation map, Singapore expects the segment to achieve a 4.5% annual productivity gain while opening up 2,000 new managerial and technical jobs by 2020. Whereas policymakers estimate that 17 food businesses currently do business of over S$100m a year, they hope to increase this number to 25 in the next four years.

By 2020, the initiative expects there to have been at least 50 new innovative product launches by local SMEs, along with two or more collaborations between small Singaporean businesses and multinational companies.

Half a decade ago, it seemed that the east coast of China was destined to become Asia’s food hub, but fast action by Singapore seems to have stalled that ambition. 

Over recent years, the island’s policies, carried out by agencies like A*STAR, have attracted food and ingredients headquarters for multinationals that would otherwise have looked further east for locations for their development centres.

Watch the video to see Tong reveal how these measures can stand Singapore's food industry in good stead for years to come.

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