SINGAPORE (Oct 29): The late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once remarked that “Singapore is possibly the most food-centric place on Earth, with the most enthusiastic diners, the most varied and abundant, affordable dishes — available for cheap — on a per-square-mile basis.” Yet, food was not always abundant in Singapore. Many Singaporeans would remember the brief but uncomfortable episode of stock-piling rice in 2008 during the global food crisis. It was a confluence of factors, including droughts and rising oil prices, that resulted in imported food prices spiking 12%. The government had to step in to assure the public that there was an ample stockpile of rice in government warehouses, and local supermarkets such as Fairprice had to limit the number of packets of rice each person could buy as rice prices rose 30%. It was not a pleasant time, but it was a stark reminder of the importance of food security even in a city as affluent as Singapore.

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