Singapore-based agritech start-up Singrow is capitalising on existing grant offered by Singapore government as the country aims to achieve ’30 by 30’ goal i.e. to build up Singapore’s agri-food capacity so as to be able to produce 30% of the population nutritional needs by 2030.
In June 2030, Singrow has applied for a Productivity Solutions Grant to build a robotic system for automatic harvesting and pollination in its effort to boost its vertical farming operations. So far, Singrow has successfully launched several proprietary crop varieties that include red and white strawberries, cherry tomatoes, komatsuna mustard vegetables and saffron.
Singrow Founder and Chief Executive Bao Shengjie said the government grant is an added boost as the company has insufficient cash flow to support the project. Prior to the grant, Singrow has already invested S$100,000 (US$73,740) to the project.
Singrow’s goal is to complement its plant biology solutions with automation, which is the reason for its collaborative efforts to design and build the robotic system.
The first phase of the robotic system development, which includes developing an algorithm to determine which strawberries are ready to be collected, has been completed. The firm is now working to customise the robotic arm further, said Bao.
Singrow, a spin-off from the National University of Singapore (NUS), raised seed-round funding of S$1.6 million (US$1.18 million) from investors to build its first pilot indoor vertical farm in Bukit Merah in 2020. The company is hoping to raise funds further as it seeks to scale up its operation in Singapore as well as across the region.
Singrow is planning to build a commercial-scale farm in Singapore by the end of 2022, largely to grow strawberries for the local market, as well as propagate strawberry seedlings to supply to its franchisees. Regionally, it aims to supply seedlings, develop technologies and help with farm design and construction for its franchisees abroad. Singrow already has an agreement with a franchisee in Batam, Indonesia and is in discussions with potential clients in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.