Riding Headwinds: The Rural-Urban Divide – On The World’s Fastest Growing Continent
The Rural-Urban Divide – On The World’s Fastest Growing Continent
26 September 2016 – Singapore will take centre stage at the Commonwealth’s agricultural arena this November as it welcomes delegates from 30 nations to the 27th edition of the Commonwealth Agriculture Conference (CAC). A milestone in the 53-year history of the conference, Singapore will be the first country in Asia to host this high profile event.
With more than 70 per cent of the world’s population slated to live in urbanized areas by 2050, the conference theme Agriculture at The Crossroad: Bridging the Rural-urban Divide underscores the need for urban communities to partake in sustainable development goals.
The CAC, organized by the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) and hosted by the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA), will bring together the best minds and hearts for the future of agriculture.
Singapore: A Global Agri-Hub
The KCA’s efforts to engage urban audiences, re-imagine and re-brand farms are prime examples of bridging the rural-urban divide. Day 1 of the conference will see international delegates visiting Kranji farms. This is a testament to the achievements of Singapore’s farms, along with the unique challenges and opportunities presented.
Although land scarce, Singapore has demonstrated the viability of agriculture if one farms intensively and thinks out of the box. Innovative vertical vegetable farming, state-of-the-art technology in egg production and a unique agri-tourism and agri-tainment proposition, the city-state hopes to provide solutions to other countries bound to face urban pressures themselves in the next decades.
With expertise in food security, food research, food trade and food tourism, Singapore has untapped potential as a global agri-hub and is poised to play a key role in regional cooperation and coordination for the future of farming and food security.
Asia: The Hungry Continent
As high economic growth is accompanied by rapid urbanization in Asia, the continent faces increasing pressures on food and energy resources. The CAC will showcase highly lauded, international and local speakers who will lead pertinent conversations and raise issues that will shape the future of agriculture and food in the world’s fastest growing region, and, beyond.
Highlights of the conference programme include:
Future Food: Trends in Availability and Consumer in the coming Decade
Speaker: Dr Shenggan FAN – Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food and Nutrition Security and the 2014 recipient of the Hunger Hero Award from the World Food Programme in recognition of his commitment to and leadership in fighting hunger worldwide.
Sustainable Farming in a City State
Speaker: Dr NGIAM Tong Tau – Colombo Scholar, PhD from the University of London in Veterinary Medicine, with over 35 years experience in the fields of veterinary medicine and public health, agriculture and aquaculture. Recognized as the architect of modern farming and agro-technology parks in Singapore and the captain of Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (“AVA”) for 21 years. Awarded the National Meritorious Service Medal, Public Administration Medal (Gold), the Friend of Labour and the NTUC Meritorious Service Medal.
Farming to Feed the World through Trade
Speaker: Professor Kym ANDERSON – Professor of Economics, University of Adelaide and the Australian National University. Chair of the Board of the Washington DC-based International Food Policy Research Institute, and President of the Policy Advisory Council of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. In 2015 he became a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).
The Asia-Pacific Tilt
Singapore is the perfect stage for an Asia-Pacific tilt, where speakers from ASEAN including senior government officials, industry players, academic and civil society representatives will converge to share their expertise at CAC.
From Malaysia, Chief Sustainability Officer of Sime Darby Berhad Dr. Simon Lord will speak on sustainability in agri-value chains. From Philippines, small town mayor and farmer Ms. Rosalie Elasus will speak on women in agriculture, and, from Vietnam, investment expert Ms. Hong Nguyen will speak on financing farming. From sustainability to gender equality, finance to trade – Asia’s leaders shape a different narrative for the hungry continent.
Food Security: An eye on the “ball” individually and in unison
Farmers, researchers, policy makers, businesses and consumers have a shared role to play, especially in cities, the epi-centres of consumption. In Asia, food is mostly grown by smallholder farmers – agribusiness such as Syngenta are now deeply engaging and empowering them to make the quantum leap in productivity and conservation practices through a sustainable growth plan. Large retailers and supermarket chains such as Singapore’s NTUC Fairprice has also played a role in responsible sourcing and raising quality and standards. At the conference, we seek to engage all team players to work in unison through constructive dialogues.
2016 and Beyond…
CAC – the quintessential conference, organized by the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth and the Kranji Countryside Association: tackling issues of the world’s Food Production, Food Security and more, through the sharing of philosophies, practical arrangements to resolve the Rural-Urban Dichotomy – Ideologically, Spatially and Financially.
Note to Editors
27th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference
Date: 2-4 November, 2016
Venue: Pan Pacific (Marina) Singapore
Theme: Agriculture at the Crossroads: Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide