Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223190
Title: MOVING FORWARD WITH SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVE : ISSUES AND APPROACHES
Authors: CHONG SIET LING
Keywords: Environmental Management
Master (Environmental Management)
Benjamin K. Sovacool (LKY Sch of Public Policy)
2009/2010 EnvM
Issue Date: 4-Apr-2011
Citation: CHONG SIET LING (2011-04-04). MOVING FORWARD WITH SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVE : ISSUES AND APPROACHES. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Ever since the green revolution during the mid-twentieth century, there is a rapid growth in agricultural productivity through high technology, energy intensive and mechanised agricultural methods. Today, the world population is growing dramatically and is expected to further increase over the next forty years, leading to an inevitable rise in demand for food supply. In addition, increase in per capita income resulting in intakes of excessive calories and diet shift for more meat products also exacerbate the current situation. All these accelerate global food production and promote the continuous growth of industrialised food production systems. This study report looks at the various environmental aspects and impacts due to the existing industrialized food production systems. Agricultural activities convert huge land areas, generate waste and consume natural resources including water, energy and chemicals. These different aspects of agriculture result in negative environmental impacts such as water scarcity and pollution, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and climate change, soil erosion and nutrient depletion, land degradation as well as loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. There are various environmental friendly voluntary schemes, ecologically sound agricultural methods and green initiatives available to alleviate the adverse environmental impacts as well as to move the food production systems towards greater sustainability. This study report selects and examines three relevant case studies in greater detail. Each case study display unique characteristics and they are namely; eco-labels for environmental friendly food products, promoting community-supported agriculture to provide local and sustainable produce, and practicing eco-friendly organic farming. These approaches are widely adopted by many countries and have varying degree of success. They are also coupled with a broad spectrum of benefits, constraints and challenges which will be further discussed. Several implications were drawn from the three case studies and analysed within the context of Singapore. Since the mid 1980s, the local government has been placing more emphasis on the development of agro-technology parks to maximise output from Singapore's limited agricultural land. On top of that, there are also some programmes lead by businesses and individuals including the Organic Produce Certification Programme and Ground-Up initiative to support the sustainability of food production systems. Nevertheless, Singapore continues to face challenges such as incorporating more sustainable approaches in addition to the current agro-technology farms; having paradigm shift in individual’s eating habits and perceptions towards sustainable food production; and closely linking various key stakeholders within the food system and to increase the level of concerted efforts. In view of the growing world population, spikes in food prices and climate change issues, sustainable food production system will continue to gain increasing global attention. Although there is no single and globally applicable solution to the problem of unsustainable food production, a more holistic approach can be adopted bearing in mind the three key pillars of sustainability namely; economic, social and environmental.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223190
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