According to a 2019 UN report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, it was found that 4.1 per cent of the population in Singapore still faced moderate to severe food insecurity.
This has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and it is expected to have a prolonged impact on the economy and the food security of needy individuals in Singapore.
Currently, most of the food-insecure individuals are the elderly and low-income families facing health or unemployment issues. These issues obstruct them from earning a regular income to put food on the table. These individuals receive support from more than 100 food-support organisations locally.
However, there are some large households which genuinely need help with more mouths to feed. As they stay in larger flats, or record higher household income, they often don’t immediately qualify for food support.
In a bid to solve these issues, Food Bank Singapore has partnered up with DBS Bank to launch a virtual food banking app where food support organisations can submit requests to donors in real-time and on-the-go.
For instance, donors can share the type and quantity of food they have on hand via the app, enabling food support organisations to have real-time visibility of the items available.
This also helps facilitate more relevant food matching and support, ensuring beneficiaries receive the right quantum and types of food they need. This removes the need for extra handling, reduces spoilage and ensures that fresh food reaches those in need more quickly.
The virtual food banking app is expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2020 and will collect data for food agencies to better understand needs.
“The Food Bank Singapore has been brainstorming possible solutions for the past three years as we realise that there are gaps in feeding programmes across agencies. Without big data, it is tougher to address these gaps. It is crucial for The Food Bank Singapore to digitalise to increase our efficiency. Since we only have a lean team of seven full-time staff, the virtual food bank will gradually reduce our reliance on the need for data entry,” said The Food Bank Singapore co-founder Nichol Ng in a press release.
The app will be a great starting point to test a circular ecosystem where donors, beneficiary organisations and logistics providers can be looped onto one platform to better facilitate food aid. Covid-19 has allowed us to create a catalyst for change as the needs on the ground will not be the same as before.– Nichol Ng, The Food Bank Singapore co-founder
DBS Bank and The Food Bank Singapore are also working with TreeDots, a social enterprise supported by the DBS Foundation, to leverage its network of food producers, importers, distributors, and F&B businesses to enhance the supply and predictability of food donations, and to amplify the impact of the virtual food banking platform.
This is in addition to the bank’s ongoing efforts to engage its network of corporate clients to come onboard the platform as pilot donors.
DBS Bank will be financing the development of the virtual food banking platform.
Featured Image Credit: The Food Bank Singapore