Passion To Uplift Singapore's Food Landscape Through Science & Technology
Tan Yung-En Joash shares why he chose SFA and his future aspirations for the agriculture industry in Singapore.
With SFA’s formation under the MEWR Family with effect from 1 April 2019, SFA has joined NEA and PUB in offering the National Environment & Water (NEW) Scholarship.
What sparked your interest in applying to SFA for the Undergraduate Scholarship?
SFA covers a broad scope in the food sphere, from food production to food businesses. The broad-based nature of SFA’s work and our food industry drew me to apply for this scholarship as it enables me to gain an understanding of a variety of domains. In addition, the flexibility and nature of the scholarship offer me the opportunity to explore and further my education in agriculture, an area that I am interested in.
What do you think makes this Scholarship stand out from the others?
A distinguishing factor of the scholarship would be that it caters to diverse areas of interest, from agricultural sciences to food technology. It is possible to obtain a scholarship to pursue an education that is in tandem with one’s interests and equips him or her with the technical knowledge and skills to contribute to SFA’s work.
This scholarship provides me with a global perspective on issues, such as international trade in agriculture, which is a key component in our globalised world. For example, learning about food broadens my understanding of other social, political and environmental issues. To learn about food is to learn about our world, which places one in good stead in our increasingly globalised world.
You are currently pursuing studies in agricultural studies in the USA. Why did you choose to take up this discipline of study?
I have always had a keen interest in nature since I was young. I would spend my weekends digging in pots that were along the corridor outside my grandparent’s house. As I grew older, I also started to involve myself in the local farming industry by working or volunteering at various farms and visiting farms in my leisure time. These experiences, as well as the encouragement from my family, have spurred me to pursue my interest in agriculture.
Share with us how you see yourself contributing to SFA’s work when you return from your studies.
I hope to contribute towards SFA’s work and the growth of agriculture in Singapore with the knowledge and skills gained from my studies. This includes building a vibrant food industry by promoting local produce and encouraging more consumers to choose local.
Changing consumer preferences have led to a shift in diet towards nutritious food such as kale and blueberries, which are usually imported and may not be widely available to everyone. However, with technology and R&D, some of these crops have been successfully cultivated in our local farms. Moreover, the shorter transport duration allows these products to arrive fresh at our markets. Hence, the consumption of local produce is a goal that I would like to continue to champion and strive towards, as it also helps in enhancing our food security.
What’s your advice for aspiring students looking to pursue a scholarship and career with SFA?
Seize every opportunity that is given to you! Do not be daunted by the perception that a scholarship is defined by grades alone – what is more important is the passion and ability to translate technical knowledge into practice to help our local farmers and food industry grow.
SFA Undergraduate Scholarship
Tan Yung-En Joash
Now: Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at University of California, Davis, USA
From: Raffles Institution