Singapore - Country Commercial Guide
Agriculture

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-08-13

Overview

The city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.7 million, is a wealthy, developed and highly urbanized country.  As there is little local agricultural production, Singapore is almost entirely dependent upon imports for its food requirements.  The country’s economy is mainly driven by financial services and manufacturing.  As the country is highly import-dependent for food security, Singapore’s food laws are focused on ensuring a consistent foreign supply of safe food and agricultural products.  While trade contacts report Singapore can be very strict on sanitary and phytosanitary issues, the country maintains a liberal and open trade system.  Singapore does not impose quotas and tariffs on imported food and agricultural products (except tobacco and alcoholic beverages).  Singapore’s total agricultural product imports in 2020 reached $13.25 billion USD, roughly ten percent of which was sourced from the United States.  The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of a robust supply chain, and by extension, food security.  Even before the pandemic, as part of the “30 by 30” vision, the Singaporean government (in 2019) set the target of producing 30 percent of the country’s nutritional needs locally by 2030.  The government is also looking into “novel foods” including alternative proteins that do not have a history of being consumed as food.  Examples include “plant-based” and “cultured” (lab-grown) meat.  The main consideration is on food safety, and to this end, the government introduced the novel food regulatory framework in 2019.  It requires companies to seek pre-market approval first, by submitting safety assessments on the product to cover risks such as toxicity, allergenicity, safety of its production methods, and dietary exposure arising from consumption.  The most recent update of the regulatory framework was made in November 2020.  Singapore gave the world’s first regulatory approval to sell lab-grown meat commercially to a U.S. firm, Just Eat, in 2020. 

Food and Agricultural Trade Data: 2018-2021 est.

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 estimated

Total Local Food and Agricultural Production

205 

(estimated)

216

(estimated) 

238

(estimated)

261

(estimated)

Total Food and Agricultural Exports

14,008

14,590

13,699

12,329

Total Food and Agricultural Imports 

13,011

12,888

13,254

14,579

Total Food and Agricultural Imports from the United States

1,009

1,142

1,353

1,488

Total Food and Agricultural Market Size

-792

-1,486

-207

2,511

Exchange Rates

1.35

1.36

1.38

1.33

Units: $ millions
Source: Trade Data Monitor 

Leading Sub-Sectors

Product Category (2020)

Major Supply Sources

(2020)

Foreign Supplier Situation

Local Supplier Situation

Beef and Beef Products

Net Imports:

$270 million

 Brazil: 34%

Australia: 33%

United States: 12%

New Zealand: 7%

Australia & New Zealand are traditional suppliers.

Brazil competes in the frozen beef segment.

Singapore does not produce beef.

Pork and Pork Products

Net Imports:

$377 million

Brazil: 38%

Australia: 13%

Netherlands: 10%

Spain: 10%

China: 9%

Germany: 5%

United States: 4%

Brazil dominates the frozen segment.

Australian pork dominates the fresh/chilled market due to closed proximity.

U.S. processed pork is growing in popularity.

Live pigs from Indonesia are imported and slaughtered.  Most of the locally slaughtered meat is sold at wet/traditional markets and supermarkets. 

Poultry Meat and Products

Net Imports:

$400 million

Brazil:  53%

Thailand: 25%

United States: 8%

Malaysia:  6%

Brazilian poultry is currently one of the most   price competitive in the Singaporean market.

Malaysian live chickens are imported and processed in-country.

Seafood Products

Net Imports:

$994 million

Malaysia: 15%

China: 13%

Vietnam: 12%

Indonesia: 10%

Norway: 7%

ASEAN countries and China dominate the market.  Fresh/chilled prawns, live crabs, frozen cuttlefish, and squid are key products.

90% of seafood is imported.  The remainder is supplied by sea-based Singaporean aquaculture operations.  SG is keen to increase production in the aquaculture sector.

Fresh Fruit

Net Imports:

$548 million

United States: 14%

China: 12%

Malaysia: 12%

Australia: 11%

Top U.S. fresh fruits in the Singapore market include grapes, oranges, strawberries, and apples. 

Singapore produces very little fresh fruit. 

Processed Fruit

Net Imports:

$137 million

China: 20%

Indonesia: 13%

 United States: 11%

Malaysia: 11%

U.S. processed fruits are very popular; some are repacked and sold as private local brands. 

Singapore is not a significant producer of processed fruit.

Tree Nuts

Net Imports:

$165 million

Indonesia:  36%

Malaysia: 18%

United States: 13%

China: 7%

Along with cashews from neighboring countries, U.S. nuts are very popular.  Some U.S. nuts are repacked and sold under local brands. 

Singapore is not a major producer of edible nuts. 

Wine and Beer

Net Imports:

$703 million

France:  53%

Australia: 11%

China: 6%

Italy: 4%

United States:  3%

France dominates the premium wine market.  U.S. wines are growing in popularity. 

Singapore does not produce wine.

Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), Singapore’s largest beer manufacturer, dominates the beer market.

Data Sources: Trade Data Monitor

Opportunities

Dairy Products 

Prospects are bright for U.S. dairy product sales to Singapore due to the growing local food retail and processing industries.  Also, more consumers are seeking healthier food products as a result of the COVID-19 situation; and in some regards, dairy products are perceived to be healthy food choices.  For example, there is an increased awareness of the benefits of probiotics found in yogurt in boosting the immune system.  There was a 17 percent increase in imports of U.S. dairy products from $76 million in 2019 to $89 million* in 2020.  Preceded by the top two suppliers of New Zealand and Australia, the United States was the third largest exporter of dairy products to Singapore in 2020.  Local consumer demand for several dairy products has grown in recent years.

Fresh Fruit

The United States continued to perform well in the Singaporean fresh fruit market in 2020, as the number one supplier, followed by China and Malaysia.  Imports of U.S. fresh fruit reached $77.5 million last year.  Singaporean traders and retailers report that the reliable supply of high-quality product along with brand recognition are driving the strong demand for U.S. fresh fruit in the market.  The most popular U.S. fresh fruit in Singapore are grapes, oranges, strawberries, apples, and berries. 

Processed Fruit 

The United States is an important player in the processed fruit sector.  Imports of U.S. processed fruit reached almost $16 million in 2020.  Generally, U.S. fruit products are dominant because of their competitiveness in quality, profitability, and supply capacity.    

Processed Vegetables

U.S. exports of processed vegetables were slightly lower in 2020, at $65.9 million compared with 2019, at $67 million.  However, the United States has continued to perform well in this category as the number two supplier after China in recent years.  In fact, the retail volume of processed vegetables (and also processed fruit) saw double-digit growth in 2020, as a result of a change in consumer behavior due to COVID-19. In addition to affordability and convenience, health consciousness amongst consumers plays a role in the increase in demand.    

Beef

U.S. beef exports to Singapore have been increasing steadily since 2016, following the agreement between the United States and Singapore in 2015, restoring a wider market access for U.S. beef and beef products in the country.  In fact, U.S. beef exports increased significantly from $19.6 million in 2016 to almost $31.5 million in 2020.   The United States has been the third largest supplier after Brazil and Australia since 2017.  However, strict restrictions are still in place, and they have inhibited the trade of meat/meat products in Singapore. 

*Source: Trade Data Monitor 

Resources

  • Singapore Food Agency 
  • Animal & Veterinary Service 
  • Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) 
  • Singapore Business Federation 
  • Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association (SFVA) 
  • Singapore Chefs Association (SCA) 
  • Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS)  
  • Singapore Hotel Association (SHA)  
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Singapore Contact 

Mr. Timothy Harrison, Agricultural Attaché 

Email: Tim.Harrison@usda.gov

Ms. Ira Sugita, Agricultural Specialist 

Email: Ira.Sugita@usda.gov  

Ms. Alice Kwek, Agricultural Marketing Specialist 

Email: Alice.Kwek@usda.gov