Singapore is an Asian nation with one of the highest ranked economies in the world. In 2018, Singapore's GDP was the 41st highest in the world at $349.659 billion while its per capita GDP was the 8th highest in the world at $61,766. At the time of its independence, Singapore's economy was one of the lowest ranked in the world having GDP per of $516. The country's unemployment rate and illiteracy rates were also extremely high. The government of Singapore put in place several measures to grow the country's economy such as establishing the Economic Development Board and emphasizing the proper utilization of the country's natural resources. Some of Singapore's most important natural resources include arable land, the country's beautiful scenery, and fish.
One of Singapore's most important natural resources is its beautiful scenery that attracts large numbers of tourists to the country. Some of Singapore's most beautiful locations include the Bay East Garden, Sentosa Island, and Pulau Ubin which is commonly referred to as Granite Island which is popular with tourists mainly because of the wide variety of wildlife in the area. The most popular destination in the Granite Island is the Chek Jawa Wetlands which covers an area of 0.386 square miles and is considered to be one of the most precious eco-systems in Singapore. In 2000, the Chek Jawa Wetlands had been selected as the site of a development project; however, after its ecological significance was discovered, the development project was halted. The Bay East Garden is popular with tourists because of the unique plants within the garden. Singapore is also home to the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. Singapore is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and it attracted more than 17 million visitors in 2017. The tourism sector is one of Singapore's most essential industries as it employs a significant number of people and contributes tremendously to the country's GDP. At the time, most of the tourists who visited Singapore came from other Asian countries such as China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Visitors from European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany also made up a significant portion of the tourists who visited Singapore. The government of Singapore has put in place several measures to grow the country's tourism sector such as the establishment of the Singapore Tourism Board to advertise the state as a tourism destination.
In 2015, arable land made up 0.8% of Singapore's land area according to data from the World Bank. The data also indicated that the size of arable land in Singapore has been declining from 1966 when it made up 6 % of the country's total land area. The decline in the size of arable land in the country can be attributed to the decrease in the importance of the agricultural sector to Singapore's economy. Statistics from Singapore's labor department indicated that approximately 0.95% of the country's labor force was employed in the farming sector. Most of the farms in Singapore are situated in the countryside region. Farmers in Singapore grow a wide array of fruit crops such as durians and mushrooms. The country is forced to import most of the food consumed in the country. The biggest challenge facing Singapore's agricultural industry is the limited size of agricultural land.
One of Singapore's most important agricultural products is fruits such as rambutans and durians. In the past, one of the most popular fruit growing areas in Singapore was Orchard Road, however, due to urbanization, the fruit farms in the area were replaced by up-scale thoroughfares. Most of the fruits grown in Singapore are consumed locally with small quantities exported to other nations.
Farmers in Singapore also grow flowers for the export market and they contribute significantly to the economy. Most of Singapore's flowers are exported to other nations such as Australia, Japan, and the United States. In 1988, the government of Singapore estimated that the country exported roughly $13.8 million worth of flowers. Orchids are the most common variety of flowers grown in Singapore. According to the Singapore government, the country was home to 153 farms that grew orchids.
Singaporean farmers also keep livestock with pigs being the most widely kept animals. In 1984, the government of Singapore embarked on a project to phase out pig farming in the country because of concerns about the impact on the environment and the stench from the farms. In 1987, Singapore was home to 500,000 pigs that were raised on approximately 200 pig farms. The government planned to reduce the number of pig farms to 22 and the number of pigs to 300,000. The local demand for pig products would be met by importing the products from other nations such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Livestock farmers in Singapore also keep significant numbers of poultry to supply the country with eggs and meat. The Singaporean government estimated that the country was home to roughly 1,000 farmers who kept more than 2 million layers and approximately 1.6 million broilers. The government of Singapore has worked hard to ensure that the country is free of the major diseases that affect livestock.
Singapore has significant fish reserves which are part of the country’s natural resources. Fishing in Singapore is mainly divided into two categories, leisure fishing, and commercial fishing. Most of the commercial fishing in Singapore is carried out within the Indian Ocean, and the fish are used to satisfy local demand. Leisure fishing in Singapore takes place in several areas such as the Punggol Point Jetty, the Woodlands Jetty, and the Serangoon Reservoir. The government of Singapore has urged the residents to adopt fish farming to increase the country's supply of fish.
Challenges Facing Singapore's Economy
Despite the strength of Singapore's economy, it faces several problems with one of the most important ones being unemployment among the residents. The government of Singapore has put in place several measures to increase the number of jobs in the country and reduce the unemployment rate.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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