- Published: October 31, 2021
- Updated: October 31, 2021
- University / College: University of Liverpool
- Language: English
- Downloads: 32
BIOME TYPE ANDCONDITION Singapore is anurban jungle located in a tropical area and has a rainforest biome (http://gseweb.gse.buffalo.
edu/fas/yerrick/ubscience/UB_Science_Education_Goes_to_School/Sungei_Buloh.html).Though tropical rainforests are typically filled with a vast array of flora andfauna, forests in Singapore have been cleared at an alarming rate mainly forthe purpose of agriculture. Singapore’s small land area has continuously been amajor issue, which further triggers deforestation to fulfill economic purposes.According to Singapore Nature Society, Singapore only has approximately 3% ofits tropical rainforests left (https://blogs.ntu.edu.sg/hp331-2014-37/?page_id=23).
In terms of its flora and fauna, Singapore has lost “4,866 plants, 627butterflies, 234 fish, 111 reptiles and 91 mammals over the last 200years” (https://blogs.ntu.edu.sg/hp331-2014-37/?page_id=170). Similarly, Indonesia also has a rainforest biome, specifically thesemi-arid and humid tropical biomes (https://indonesiafoodsecurityinquiry.weebly.
com/about.html).These biomes are both degrading at a rapid pace, in which Indonesia’sdeforestation rate is the highest in the world (https://indonesiafoodsecurityinquiry.weebly.com/about.html).
Indonesia has relied on rice as its staple food since a very long time, whichmeans that huge areas of land are required to plant this important crop. Also, Indonesia’s local farmers often utilizefires because they spread quickly. Hence, explaining the large amounts offorests being cleared. Not only clearing land, forest fires in Indonesia have avery devastating effect to surrounding food chains, water cycles and soilfertility.
Other factors that contribute to the loss of rainforests inIndonesia include, construction of roads by logging companies, oil palm treesplantations, rubber extractions for tires and the logging of acacia andeucalyptus trees to make paper (https://kids.mongabay.com/slideshows/indonesian-rainforest-tour/).
SOIL CONDITION Singapore oftenfaces severe local floods due to runoffs from lands that have been cleared.Moreover, short streams that are supposed to drain the island “have lowgradients” (https://www.britannica.com/place/Singapore#ref52616),which worsens the severity of the floods. Due to these floods, Singapore’s soilcondition is very concerning. It is difficult to obtain fertile soil,especially when you live in the eastern part of this country.
Soils obtainedfrom the granites have better quality but is still not considered fertile, andsoils from sedimentary rocks are inconsistent due to presence of compactsubstances that hinders drainage of soil and growth of plant roots. To makematters worse, the fertility of the soil is difficult to improve due toSingapore’s low precipitation levels and the frequency of acidification. Interms of human impacts, Singapore has a high solid waste disposalto the ground, where chemicals leak out and seep into the soil.
The rate ofwaste disposed by citizens in Singapore is increasing rapidly, and they haveaddressed this issue by establishing a solid waste management system thatintegrates recycling, collection and disposal of wastes. Since Indonesia islocated in a tropical area, its weather and climate really benefit the soilcondition. Indonesia is well known for its arable fertile soil, which drivesthe country’s agricultural sector. All year long, Indonesia receives plentifulrainfall and sunlight, which definitely allow plants and crops to flourishbetter.
The plentiful rainfall also provides enough moisture to keep the soilfertile. Another reason to Indonesia’s fertile soil is due to its location inthe ring of fire. Catastrophic volcano eruptions in Indonesia have releasedvolcanic ashes into the air, and decades later, these ashes have weathered.This means that the ashes have released nutrients and water into the Indonesiansoil. However, in recent years, human impacts to the environment havegreatly affected the soil condition. For example, in areas that are inhabitedby low-income families, many people use commercial detergent to wash theirclothes in rivers. As the river flows through different bodies of water, theyeventually infiltrate into the soil, along with its harmful chemical contents.In addition, many households in Indonesia discharge their excess detergentwater straight into the soil.
Fortunately enough, usually households woulddischarge this water into the soils of their own backyards, and they don’tdirectly have an impact towards the country’s overall agricultural lands. TYPE OF FARMINGSYSTEMS Singapore hasadopted a commercial farming system. They greatly rely on technology to supporttheir fishery and agricultural systems. Singapore has also contributed to theexporting of their food supplies to over 30 countries. They primarily export500 ornamental fish and orchids. However, specifically talking about theirproduction of leafy vegetables, Singapore takes the role of subsistence farmingor also known as cash cropping. These vegetables are grown in their high-endagro-technology parks that focus on achieving higher yields with greaterefficiency and lower wastes. Singapore’s tropical vegetables produce, includingbeansprouts are designated only for local consumption.
In fact, by 2016,Singapore’s agricultural sector only contributes to approximately 1% of theirGDP per capita (https://www.export.gov/article?id=Singapore-Agricultural-Sectors). Indonesia greatlyrelies on agriculture for their source of food.
They produce many locally-grownvegetables but their export levels still remain low compared to their fruit andvegetables imports. For lower-income families in Indonesia, they rely onsubsistence farming that cultivates smaller land areas. For larger scale vegetableplantations, the country does make exporting efforts. Thus, this shows howIndonesia’s farming system is commercialized, though import values are higherthan that of exports. Indonesia implements shifting cultivation, mix farming ofvegetables, monoculture practices, intensive-irrigated and rain-fed paddyfields and intensive crop farming. Three main farmingsystems in Indonesia include:1. Lowland FarmingThis systemproduces a single crop, which is rice. This is a crucial farming system inIndonesia because it supplies the staple food for the whole population.
Withthis farming system, irrigation is utilized, as well as high fertilizer dosagesto increase yields. 2. Upland FarmingThis system isusually conducted in conditions with weathered acid soils. This farming systemhas plenty of potential for development.
3. PerennialFarmingOil-palm and rubber are the two most common crops that are grown inthis perennial farming system. This farming system is both controlled by thegovernment and private owners. WHAT INFLUENCESFOOD CHOICE Singapore has beenworking to foster an open economy for their country.
In regards to this, theydo not impose any taxes or tariffs on food products, except for thosecontaining tobacco and alcohol. Again, Singapore’s limited land area becomes amajor influence in terms of their food choice. Due to this, Singapore mostlyrelies on food imports as their source of food. There has continuously beengrowing demands for vegetables from the U.S. Singaporeans prefer vegetableimports because they care more about the quality factor of these foods.American vegetables are usually sold in Singapore’s premium markets, in whichhere quality is really observed.
Some of Singapore’s greatest imports from theU.S. in 2016 were celery, asparagus and lettuce.
Singaporean who earn higherincomes have a leniency towards premium fresh fruit imports from America. Due to Indonesia’svolcanic soil advantages, the country mostly relies on agriculture for itssource of food. Many locals work as farmers in the agricultural sector, if notfishermen.
Taking a look at Indonesia’s staple food: rice. There are hundredsand thousands of hectares of land area dedicated to rice crops. Thus, theirfood choice typically revolves around rice and other leafy vegetables that canflourish with the local soil and climatic conditions. Due to the country’s geography, cultural diversity is very muchevident. Each of these diverse cultures always incorporate vegetables intotheir dish, combining it with chili pepper. Indonesia still has many of itspopulation in the lower classes, and these lower classes often choose to eatvegetables because they tend to be cheaper.
In addition, the occupation ofIndonesian families could also affect their food choice. For instance, sinceIndonesia is a maritime country, many of the low-income locals work asfishermen. These fishermen of course would influence their families’ foodchoice, in a way that their families would prefer seafood over agriculturalproducts. TECHNOLOGY Singapore hasinvested on high-tech agricultural systems to maximize the limited land areathat they have for food production.
The vertical farming system or the”A-Go-Gro” technology in Singapore is arguably their most advancedand successful agrotechology products. This farming system basically allowsSingaporeans to plant a vast array of green leafy vegetables without having touse up large hectares of land. Instead, all they need is a single land area,and vegetables are planted upwards on automatic platforms. Currently, Singaporehas constructed 120 A-Go-Gro towers and has planned to construct an additional300. These towers are situated away from the urban area, in a designated farmfor an agro-technology park. Vegetables likechinese cabbage, lettuce, bayam, kang kong, cai xin, spinach and many more aregrown in towers that are A-shaped. Each of these towers can hold from “22to 26 tiers of growing troughs” (https://permaculturenews.
org/2014/07/25/vertical-farming-singapores-solution-feed-local-urban-population/).To specify this process, the vertical farming utilizes an interesting water-pulleysystem, where aluminum platforms will automatically rotate to allow each row ofplants to receive equal amount of sunlight, nutrients and irrigation. (Ava.gov,2014). The A-Go-Gro technology can produce higher yields without the use of asmuch water, natural resources and energy as traditional farming. The roofing inwhich the vertical farming is conducted is built with PVC as well as nettedwalls to allow for better efficiency in the cultivation of the vegetables.Thus, production costs can be kept low.
Not only that, insome areas of the country, Singapore uses automation from seeding stages up tothe packaging stages of vegetables. In several farms, solar energy is used forthe automating of ventilation fans and for additional lighting. The irrigationsystems in these farms use overhead sprinklers. Singapore’s vegetable farmingmostly uses soil or hydroponic cultivation to produce high quality vegetablesthat have a high value in the domestic market. Unlike Singaporehowever, Indonesia still mostly rely on labor workforce. The implementation oftechnology is still very poor and they rely on traditional soil cultivationmethods. Just very recently in 2016, Indonesia’s current president hasintroduced their plan to improve the country’s agricultural technology.
Theyare planning to provide machinery which will be utilized from the plantationand harvest of crops. According to Jokowi, this plan is expected to allowIndonesia have sufficient supplies of rice, corn and soybeans in the following3 years after the implementation of the plan. POLITICS FORFOOD SUPPLY As mentionedpreviously, Singapore does not impose any form of tax barriers or tariffs onfood importers, except on tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.
Singaporesees the need to remain dependent on food imports because local demand forvegetables and other products from other countries have been growing on asteady rate. Indonesia stillrelies on imports of horticulture because some of these food sources arerelatively cheaper (governments in other countries like China, Thailand andMalaysia provide subsidies) than locally-grown products. One of Indonesia’sagricultural research facilities, Bogor Agricultural University provides verylimited quality seeds to local farmers. Furthermore, there is also a lack ofgovernment support; where modern cultivation techniques are not educated tolocal farmers. The Indonesian farmers also suffer from lack of funds from thegovernment to improve their transportation and storage of food supplies.
Veryoften, as local farmers are transporting their vegetables or food to the localmarket, the open-air trucks spoil large quantities of the foods. To worsenthis, while Indonesia has high logistic costs, their infrastructure stillremains poor. Back in 2012, Indonesia’s government decided to close down 4 out of8 ports to horticulture products. Their primary reason was because the countryhas limited laboratories to conduct health and safety tests on the products.The government has also revised several amendments regarding the import offruits and vegetables.
One of these amendments relate to how importers musthave an import license before horticulture products can enter Indonesia. Theserevisions have of course made it more difficult for importers to deliver foodsupplies to Indonesia, but it will allow the local farmers to remaincompetitive. IMPROVINGSUSTAINABILITY OF FOOD SUPPLIES Due to Singapore’slimited land area for agriculture, they have experienced milestones inproviding sustainable food supplies for the whole population. However, beingthe MEDC that they are, their investment in technology, such as agrotechnologyhas really proven that they are in the process of improving the country’ssustainability of food supplies. Singapore is currently in the process ofadding new establishments of the A-Go-Gro technology to ensure that supply forfood will continuously be sufficient for the population in the years to come. In addition,according to Straits Times, after nearly 20 years, the Singaporean governmentis finally releasing new plots (36 plots) for farming purposes, which in totalcovers the area of approximately 60 football fields. These new farm plots aredesignated for the establishment of high-tech farming, thus to allow theproduction of higher yields while maximizing efficiency and implementing the3R’s.
To encourage local farmers to adopt the high-tech farming systems, theAVA will be providing rewards for them (rewards are not specified). Thestrategy is to help local farmers realize that these high-tech farming systemsare not merely to boast about Singapore’s technological abilities, but torealize that efficiency and higher yields can be obtained to sustainably supplyfood for the whole population. As of now,Indonesia’s food supply is secured through large and small-scale farmings. Theyalso rely on imports to provide sufficient food supplies.
However, channels ofdistribution and infrastructure has been very poor, reducing sufficient foodsupplies for the designated areas. Thus, to improve sustainability of foodsupplies, the government has tried to implement a Self-Sufficiency Plan everysince 2012 whereby they focus on improving exports and imports, diversifyingfood crops and provide better management strategy for food stocks. Furthermore, Indonesia has worked with plant scientists fromWageningen University & Research in developing a program called VegImpact.
This program serves to provide training to approximately 10,000 Indonesianfarmers about sustainable vegetable farming. They are given training onimproving varieties of vegetables, fertilization process and protecting cropsfrom pests without harming the environment. UNSUSTAINABLEAGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES Since this essayonly focuses on their vegetable farming, there are no unsustainableagricultural techniques that can be found in Singapore. In contrast to this, since Indonesia still relies on traditionalagricultural techniques that may potentially cause significant damage to thesurrounding environment. For instance, Indonesia relies on irrigation-intensivefarming. This system requires large amounts of water. As the water passesthrough the large area of agricultural land, the heat of the sun causes much ofthe water to evaporate, hence leaving only a few left for irrigating the crops.Also, Indonesian farmers are not very educated on the importance sustainableagricultural practices.
This is evident through their actions of using chemicalfertilizers and pesticides to increase yields of food supply. However, theyclearly do not realize that by doing this, they’re not doing the environmentany good. SUSTAINABLEAGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES Talking aboutSingapore’s agricultural techniques, it couldn’t be argued that their A-Go-Grotechnology for planting tropical leafy vegetables is very sustainable.
Singapore works together with Sky Greens (https://permaculturenews.org/2014/07/25/vertical-farming-singapores-solution-feed-local-urban-population/),a company that specializes in the implementation of green technologies and toencourage citizens to conduct the 3R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle). Forinstance, as mentioned previously, the vertical farming system is located awayfrom the urban environment, which keeps it away from pollutions. The locationof the farm also allows it to receive abundant natural light and insolationfrom the sun. Thus, ensuring the quality of the vegetables being produced. Another sustainableaspect of the vertical farming is that each A-shaped tower only requires 1liter of water to automate the rotation system.
This water is obtained througha reservoir that collects rainwater. To power one tower, Sky Greens onlyrequire the energy of lighting up a single 60-watt bulb. In addition, the waterthat has been used to automate the tower is filtered and recycled, thentransferred back to the plants. Even better, all sorts of organic wastes thatare produced from this vertical farming are kept for the purpose of compostingand reusing. The efficient use of energy and water for this A-Go-Gro technologyhas allowed Singapore to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce thepossibility of harmful chemicals leaking into the surrounding soil. Indonesia has been trying to support agricultural practices that areboth sustainable and organic.
In Bali, farmers’ unions and NGO’s have formedthe VECO-Indonesia, Indonesian Development of Education and PermacultureFoundation as well as the Bali Organic Association, which aim to promotesustainable agricultural techniques to the surrounding society. They try toencourage local farmers to cultivate earthworms to improve conditions ofdegraded soil. They have also created a system in which organic rice is sortedand controlled to maintain its quality. VECO-Indonesia focuses their practicesmore towards Eastern Indonesia, providing sustainable agricultural systems forthis area. They introduce the LEISA method, which stands for Low External InputSustainable Agriculture.
This method encourages farmers to use natural inputsto replace chemical inputs, like for example teaching farmers to make greenmanure as a substitute for chemical fertilizer (http://www.insideindonesia.org/in-search-of-sustainable-farming). WHAT CAN BE APPLIEDIN INDONESIA Since Indonesiastill relies on traditional farming methods to cultivate vegetables, it wouldbe wise if Indonesia’s government try to instill the use of technology to helplocal farmers produce higher yields and keep up with the growing demands fromthe increasing population. Singapore’s A-Go-Gro technology has been proven tobe very efficient and environmentally friendly too. Indonesia still has manypotential in the agricultural sector that they are yet to develop.
Consideringhow Indonesia’ soil condition is very fertile, it would be very helpful if thegovernment could start implementing technology into their agriculturalpractices. With excellent soil conditions and a great tropical climate all yearlong, agro-technology in Indonesia would be able to cultivate and produce foodproducts in very high yields and thus Indonesia could start exporting more oftheir produce to other countries. Another important thing that could be implemented in Indonesia toimprove their food supply is by focusing on real, physical actions rather thansimply revising amendments and formulating written plans to improve theagricultural sector. Like Singapore, their plans to lease lands foragricultural practices were quickly executed.
Quick decision-making andgovernment support must be applied in Indonesia, because if not from the local government,Indonesian farmers are going to remain uneducated about the importance and theneed for sustainable farming systems for the long run. PERSONAL REFLECTION Based on theinformation above, it is clear to see that both the LEDC’s and MEDC’s sufferfrom the lack of land for agricultural purposes. The alarming rate ofdeforestation happening in both Singapore and Indonesia has allowed me tounderstand how both countries need to invest on further research to enable themto obtain substitutes for agricultural products from their rainforests instead.Having the rainforest biome, both Singapore and Indonesia have been providedwith a lot of intrinsic and extrinsic values. For instance, the rainforest isrich with diverse plants and animals that could provide abundant food suppliesfor the population.
In addition, plants can also be a source ofmedication for locals. As stated before,Indonesia could consider applying Singapore’s agro-technology systems. Althoughthis might provide many beneficial factors to the overall food supply of thecountry, there is a need to understand other factors. Since Indonesia still hasa high poverty rate and the majority of the population still does not fall intothe middle upper-class and upper-class, introducing the agro-technology wouldbe very risky. The possibility of local worker redundancies would be very highand this is not helpful to the already worrying poverty rate.
The Indonesiangovernment should also invest more in educating local farmers on the methods ofmodern agricultural practices and the use of technology. They must incorporatea hands-on approach to allow these farmers to harness modern techniques. Thegovernment should also really provide more funds for the improvement ofIndonesia’s infrastructure, to aid in the distribution process of localproduce.