A manufacturer and a food caterer among new players feeding Singapore’s urban farming boom
SINGAPORE: In a small room tucked away on the second floor of a precision engineering factory in Tuas, pots of kale and lettuce stacked in vertical racks grow under the glow of pink-purple lights.
These light-emitting diode (LED) lights have been designed to shine at a customised spectrum that will help crops grow better. Smart sensors also keep tabs on temperature and humidity in the room, while a special water treatment system reduces bacteria growth.
In here, the goal is to find the best way to farm vegetables indoors, all with the use of technology.
“You can control everything, even how much nutrients or water is being used for each plant,” said Mr Nelson Lim, co-founder of I.F.F.I, which stands for Indoor Farm Factory Innovation.
“We want to bring indoor farming into something more precise, where you calculate the least input for the best output. That is precision farming,” he told CNA.
Mr Lim is also the chief executive of precision engineering firm TranZplus Engineering, which is the parent company of I.F.F.I. TranZplus’ two-storey office in Tuas now houses both a manufacturing facility for semiconductor components and a farming showroom.
“A lot of people ask me: ‘Nelson, are you crazy? You’re in engineering, why suddenly do farming?’ Actually, the two are not unrelated. We can put our engineering skills to good use in indoor farming,” Mr Lim said, while demonstrating the farming racks that can be adjusted according to height and size.
Robotics is another expertise that the company has incorporated into its farming solutions to not just improve the yield and quality of crops, but also workflow efficiencies.
For instance, automated machines that can perform seeding, transplanting, potting and harvesting tasks will be put to work at I.F.F.I’s mega indoor farm when ready at the end of this year.
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