Within the framework of the International City Partnerships (ICP) Programme, a delegation from Milan, headed by the Vice Mayor Anna Scavuzzo, visited Singapore in December. The programme started back in February and sees Milan and Singapore paired up to work on circular economy for food. Part of the programme consists in visiting the respective cities.
The week started off with a meeting with the Centre for Liveable Cities, Milan’s counterpart in Singapore. The research centre set up in 2008, part today of the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, presented its mission and its work in the field. The meeting saw the presence also of the Italian Ambassador in Singapore, H.E. Mario Vattani. The exchange was a perfect occasion to discuss common work between Milan and Singapore along with future activities.
The day continued with a visit to Archisen, an indoor farm founded in 2020 that is producing 100 tonnes of vegetables a year. Their produce is 100% local with no pesticides, preservatives or genetic modification, making them fresher, safer, and better than imported alternatives.
The second day was dedicated to a meeting with the National Environment Agency. They presented their Zero Waste Masterplan launched in 2019 and their strategy to achieve the goal to reduce the amount of waste (per capita) that they send to landfill by 30% by 2030.
It was, of course, the occasion to discuss the different approaches adopted by Milan, including its system of segregated waste collection. They are also strongly working to reduce and prevent food waste at the source through guidelines, materials and campaigns to increase awareness of the food waste situation in Singapore and encourage consumers to adopt smart solutions.
It was then time to meet with the Resilient Cities Network at Canopy, a garden concept restaurant that puts nature at the core of its identity and has a strong commitment to sustainable food.
After lunch, the delegation met Sentosa Development Corporation on Sentosa, a 500-hectare resort island that every year welcomes 19 million visitors. The island has the aim to become a sustainable tourism destination and therefore to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Therefore, in 2021 they launched the Sustainable Sentosa Framework, a sustainability strategy for the island.
The third day was dedicated to the visit of Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre, the main wholesale centre and distribution point for imported fruits, vegetables and dried goods in Singapore. The market extends approximately for 15 hectares and in 2021 it handled over 40% of Singapore’s fruit and vegetable imports.
The delegation then met with Food Bank Singapore. It is estimated that 10% of Singaporean households experienced food insecurity at least once in the last 12 months, while only 22% were receiving food support.
The Food Bank works with 9,000 volunteers, sourcing and rescuing more than 800,000 kilograms of food annually for the network of beneficiary organisations. They have been able to reach 10,000 families and 300,000 individuals, adopting different initiatives like bankboxes, food bundles, food pantries and food bank cards.
The afternoon was dedicated to the meeting with Singapore Food Agency, the lead agency for food-related matters. Through its three “food baskets”, SFA aims mainly its 30 by 30 goal to boost local production. The aim is to build up an agri-food industry’s capability and capacity to produce 30% of nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030.
The last day was dedicated to pay a visit to Singapore Centre for 3D Printing and Singapore Agrifood Innovation Lab (SAIL) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The aim of SAIL is to accelerate innovation and reap the growing economic opportunities in the agri-food sector, working with agri-food corporates to establish their problem statements, identify partnership opportunities to find solutions, and organise knowledge-sharing sessions to match demand drivers and solution providers.
In the second part of the day, the last session of the MUFPP & IURC Asia Pacific Food Policy Training on Food Waste took place with the special participation of colleagues from Singapore and Bangkok.
Last but not least, the teams organised a fireside chat on “Creating an enabling food ecosystem: insights from Milan“.
Moving from its experience, the Milan team shared its experience in accelerating existing policies and encouraging the development of new food-related initiatives, ranging from short food supply chain and redistribution to food waste management with the ultimale goal to create a more robust food (eco)system in Milan.