Integrated Vegetable Farming Solutions

November 2016

From Right: Mr. Ee Yong Liang (NUS), Prof. Zhou Weibiao (NUS), Assoc Prof. Loh Chiang Shiong (NUS), Ms. Fadhlina Suhaimi (AVA), Prof. Naweed Naqvi (TLL), Prof. Ong Choon Nam (NUS), Prof Sanjay Swarup (NUS) and Prof Li Jun (NUS)

A team from NERI was among the 5 that was awarded the National Research Foundation (NRF) Competitive Research Programme 16th Grant Call. The project titled “Novel Integrated Agrotechnologies, Plant Nutrients and Microbials for Improved Production of Green Leafy Vegetables in Singapore”, will look at the development of novel technology platforms to improve Singapore’s vegetable production.

The team comprises of 5 NUS faculty members. Associate Professor Swarup is the lead principal investigator (PI) and his Co-PIs include Professor Li Jun, Professor Zhou Weibiao, Associate Professor Loh Chiang Shiong, Professor Ong Choon Nam from NUS and Adjunct Professor and Senior Investigator Naweed Naqvi from the Temasek Lifesciences Laboratories (TLL).

This team has secured a 5 years funding to develop novel technologies for a more sustainable vegetable production, with a primary focus on Asian green leafy vegetables - Brassica spp and Amaranthus spp. This will be achieved by utilizing the synergy between plant traits, their associated microbes and physico-chemical traits of soil substratum and light.

There are three interrelated themes in this programme; Profs Loh and Ong will explore the selection of Asian vegetables, with high nutritional values and biomass growth properties; Profs Sanjay and Naweed will explore effective microbial solutions – involving microbiomes (microbial communities) of high nutritional vegetables and developing beneficial microbial consortia to improve plant nutrients and defense against urban pests and diseases, thereby increasing yields and reducing chemical inputs; and Profs Li and Zhou aims to develop cost-effective agrotechnologies – involving development of novel soil substitutes based on food waste to retain water and release nutrients slowly, and wavelength control LED lighting systems to improve growth and resilience of urban leafy vegetables. These innovative solutions tailored for land, water and energy scarce Singapore will be test-bedded together with local companies.

The NUS Environmental Research Institute facilitated the grant process by linking up the PIs with industry and government partners. Researchers will work closely with local farmers from Kok Fah Technology Farm (KFTF) and collaborators from our government agency, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

We would like to congratulate the team!