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Safe to eat

Singaporeans do not have to worry about a shortage of food thanks to people like Mr Lim Wei Jing, 26.

The manager of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) Research Planning and Systems Integration Group helps to improve Singapore’s food security by developing research and development programmes for the agri-tech and food sector.

On an AVA Undergraduate Scholarship, he did a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science (2013 to 2016) at University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, followed by a master’s degree in Food Security (2016 to 2017) at University of Edinburgh, UK, also supported by AVA.

Why did you sign up for AVA’s scholarship?
I am passionate about the environment and sustainability, and I love food. I saw myself applying the knowledge from university to AVA’s work — to ensure a resilient supply of safe food for Singapore.

What was your most memorable experience in university?
During the summer holidays of 2017, I took part in a programme organised by Challenges Worldwide, a Scottish international development charity, and spent six weeks in Kampala, Uganda. The agricultural nation is dominated by smallholder farmers, many of whom saw organic agriculture as a way to increase the value of their produce.

I was there gathering data for my dissertation on food loss and waste in Uganda’s organic fruit supply chain. I saw how the farmers organised many initiatives to tackle a system that’s-unable to provide adequate infrastructure and financial support to them.

It was a meaningful experience.

How did your scholarship enhance your experience at university?
Knowing that I was returning to Singapore to serve my bond helped to clarify my goals. I focused on modules that would help me better understand AVA’s work, for example.

What are some of your recent work projects?
A project last year was to develop a research and development programme for the agri-tech and food sector. It is a key factor that will enable our farms to increase food production significantly.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Climate change is likely to have a significant impact on agriculture. We can do a lot more to ensure that our food supply becomes climate-resilient and that our local food producers develop in a sustainable manner.