SINGAPORE—In this skyscraper-studded nation of nearly six million people, all the farmland combined adds up to about 500 acres—an area roughly the size of a single American farm.
That explains why more than 90% of the city-state’s food comes from abroad, a feat of globalization that plays out every day as beef is brought from New Zealand, eggs from Poland and vegetables trucked in from Malaysia.
But recent developments—from Covid-19-related border closures to international trade fights—have shown that near-total dependence on the outside world may not be the best strategy in a shifting global environment. “Countries increasingly look inward, prioritizing their needs over international trade,” says Singapore’s Food Agency, the body in charge of supply.
The Asian financial hub long focused on growing investment is turning to growing food.
It can’t be done the traditional way, however. Land is so scarce in Singapore that the government continually reclaims territory from the sea to build new urban infrastructure.