Singapore and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations will work together to enhance food and nutrition security in Southeast Asia, with a special focus on food safety and fisheries. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between both parties on 8 June 2015, during the FAO Conference in Rome, Italy.
The partnership will look at improving the safety of food offered in various outlets, including street food. Ways to reduce food loss and waste will also be examined.
"During my first official visit to Singapore last year, I was impressed by its innovative efforts to ensure food security and food safety," said FAO Director-General Dr José Graziano da Silva during the MOU-signing ceremony. "I see the value of sharing its good practices with other countries," he added.
In his speech at the FAO Conference on 9 June 2015, Minister of State (MOS) for National Development and Defence Dr Maliki Bin Osman agreed that international collaboration is key to ensuring food safety: "Indeed, current food scares such as reports of plastic rice and excessive lead in instant noodles underscore the need for countries to be vigilant and to strengthen their food safety systems and, at the same time, share information and intelligence with each other. With the MOU, we look forward to collaborations with the FAO to protect consumers and contribute to global food safety and security."
Singapore and FAO will also be working together to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Other areas such as sustainable trade and agriculture, as well as building of resilience towards animal- and plant-related threats, will be covered too.
The agreement foresees knowledge exchanges and technical consultations between both parties. Other forms of cooperation, including the deployment of experts across the region, along with trainings, study visits, joint seminars, and workshops, can also be expected.
In addition to exchanging and deploying professionals in the field, FAO and Singapore will work together on developing food policies and creating agricultural research programmes and training materials, as well as disseminating new technologies.