The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) received a generous donation from Suga International Holdings Limited (SUGA) for the establishment of Hong Kong's first research platform focusing on Urban Agriculture. The laboratory has been named as "Suga Research Laboratory for Sustainable Urban Green Agriculture" in recognition of the company's contribution to the University.
Officiating the naming ceremony were Professor Sophia CHAN, the Secretary for Food and Health of the HKSAR Government, Dr NG Chi-ho, Chairman and Managing Director of SUGA, and Professor Jin-Guang TENG, PolyU President.
The mission of the Laboratory is to develop the next generation of Urban Agriculture model to cultivate high quality and safe fruits and vegetables in a small indoor space, with hydroponics as a focus. Two research directions include the investigation of the optimal correlation between major environmental factors and the growth of hydroponics vegetables, as well as the systematical assessment of food safety risk, harmful chemicals and food-borne bacteria in vegetables grown from hydroponics and traditional farming.
Professor Teng expressed sincere gratitude to Dr Ng for supporting PolyU's sustainable urban green agriculture research. "The Laboratory is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. With the use of innovative technologies, Urban Agriculture contributes to food safety and enables sustainable food production in modern cities. It matches with one of PolyU's strategic research areas, that is, food safety and technology," added Professor Teng.
In 2011, PolyU established the first university-based Food Safety and Technology Research Centre in Hong Kong and had successfully developed the first Food Hygiene Standard Certification System for local catering establishments, which had then been licensed to three major certification bodies in Hong Kong.
At the naming ceremony, Professor Sophia Chan said the Government has put in a lot of efforts and resources to promote the sustainable development of agriculture in Hong Kong. This includes the setting up of an Agricultural Park to encourage the adoption of modern farming methods and offering funding through the $500 million Sustainable Agricultural Development Fund to foster the research and application of new technologies as well as to encourage farmers upgrade and modernise their equipment. She welcomes the establishment of the Suga Research Laboratory in PolyU to complement the Government's efforts on this front.
Dr Ng said, "SUGA has been actively applying new technology in improving food quality and safety, both for the health of human and people's best friend, pets. I am very delighted to endorse and support this research laboratory, an exemplary cooperation among enterprise, academia and research. I am tremendously eager to see the inventive solutions that will arise from this laboratory, and how they will bring meaningful contributions to the advancement of hydroponic business and pet food business in Hong Kong."
The Suga Research Laboratory for Sustainable Urban Green Agriculture is operated by PolyU's Food Safety and Technology Research Centre (FSTRC). Dr WONG Ka Hing, Executive Director of FSTRC, shared that the development of indoor hydroponic technology is demand-driven and customer focused to ensure that the products could fulfill the needs of Hong Kong people. Besides food safety and technology for humankind, the Laboratory has an ambition to do more and the next research focus will be on pet food.
The Laboratory will also establish a Core Technology Exchange Platform for promoting knowledge transfer in Urban Agriculture and enhancing the competitiveness of the industry. Aspiring to serve as an information hub to make greater contributions in Urban Agriculture development in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and the Mainland, the Laboratory will help foster a "Healthy Eating" culture and safeguard public health.
Executive Director, Executive Director Food Safety and Technology Research Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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