Singapore To Be First Ever Asian Host of the RASC Commonwealth Agricultural Conference
In November, Singapore will challenge stereotypes and be put on the global agricultural stage as the first ever Asian host for the Commonwealth Agricultural Conference. Business and thought leaders from around the Commonwealth will meet over three days to discuss pertinent global issues such as food security, sustainability and bridging the rural-urban divide in agriculture. The host society, the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA), has been a full member of the RASC since 2011.
Delivering the opening keynote will be Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland of Asthal, who had just assumed the position on 1 April 2016. Of Caribbean heritage and a former attorney general and minister of state in the United Kingdom, she is the first-ever woman secretary-general of the Commonwealth, and singles out climate change as an existential threat to small island states.
The theme of the conference “Agriculture at a Crossroads: Bridging the Rural Urban Divide” highlights present and future challenges in resource and environmental sustainability. As Asia experiences rapid economic growth and urbanisation, food and energy resources are under increasing pressure. Singapore’s reputation as a hub for knowledge and innovation makes it an attractive location for discussions on the future of agricultural business, policy, trade and technology. Singapore also organizes the bi-annual Singapore Garden Festival, Asia’s largest and most successful horticulture show, and will field experts on how agriculture shows and events can be uplifted with technology and innovation.
“The RASC is delighted and excited to be holding our first conference in Asia. Participants will get an opportunity to see tropical agriculture in Singapore and Johore, Malaysia, and learn about how Singapore’s farms have innovated and survived despite nearly full urbanisation,” says Michael Lambert, RASC honorary secretary.
The conference has attracted top tier speakers such as Dr. Fan Shenggen, Director General of the Washington DC-based International Food Policy Research Institute, and Professor Kym Anderson AC, economics, trade and agricultural policy expert from the University of Adelaide. Many show society CEOs and Next-Generation leaders will also be speaking at the conference. The three day-programme will also include a field trip out to the Kranji farms, which currently take up one per cent of Singapore’s land area and is under threat from being removed for other uses.
The pre-conference tour will encompass interesting sights in Singapore and Johore, Malaysia. It will start with a visit to a palm oil mill in Johore on the first day. Delegates will get to experience Singapore’s Marine Aquaculture Research Centre, off-shore fish farms, a variety of other livestock and vegetable farms and the UNESCO World Heritage Sight of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, among other sights. Singapore’s appeal is a very different one: come and experience a highly urban city-state, where agricultural businesses and policy makers have had no choice but to seek different and innovative methods for agriculture to remain relevant. Given global trends, Singapore’s situation is a microcosm of what is to come in many other countries.
Registration for the 27th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference is open at www.rasc2016singapore.com
27th Commonwealth Agricultural Conference
Date: 2-4 November, 2016
Venue: Pan Pacific (Marina) Singapore
Theme: Agriculture at the Crossroads: Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide