Moves to Increase Food Supply in Singapore
With a view to increase the food supply, the Government of Singapore has recently made an announcement. According to this new government notification, the government is extending land for new farms as the initial move in more than a couple of decades. This is done with a view to ensuring more food supply in Singapore from local sources.
Tender for 36 new plots:
Beginning in the month of August, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, shorty called as AVA will release a tender for 36 new plots of farmland in Sungein Tengah and Lim Chu Kang on a lease extending to 2 decades. The lands spread over a total of 60ha. This size is something that is equivalent to 60 football fields. However, the fresh grounds will not help with managing the farmland loss that is expected by the close of 2019. The leases of 62 local farms in Kranji and Lim Chu Kang will run out then and the military will be using the plot. Even though, no answers were given by AVA with respect to the size of the plot, but it is judged that it will be larger than 60ha. Even though, there will be a reduction the entire farmland in the country with this move, the AVA is expecting that technological advancement will help with increasing the output from fresh lands.
Who will win the bids?
It is expected that experienced farmers with excellent track records hold a better edge over other farmers. In addition, those willing to adapt to high-tech farming methods will also gain better advantage. It is all about how effectively the farmers harness the technology as against employing high-end technology in farming practices.
Employment of technology:
The Kok Fah Technology Farm has used technology with the help of which the farm has reduced its manpower requirements by nearly 30%. This is done by using automated packing, irrigation and sowing of seeds.
Move from the government:
The Government of Singapore aims at increasing the food security in the country. This should be done within the limitations of lesser land. It was announced by the National Development Minister that the local farmers can cushion themselves against disturbance in overseas supply.
The target behind these moves by the government is to have more food produced locally. For instance, it is aimed at moving 10%, 15% and 30% respectively of leafy vegetables, fish and eggs. Previous year, the local farmers managed to produce just 24% of eggs and 10% of fish for local consumption. However, the target for leafy vegetables exceeded.
The present situation is that just less than a single percentage of land is marked as farmland in Singapore. In total, there are 358 licensed plots for farming practices in the country. Out of this, nearly 212 are food lands, while the other are non-food lands.
To make sure that the purpose of the tender reaches the target market, AVA conducted three briefing sessions with nearly 185 farmers at the Jurong East headquarters. Before the launching of each tender, AVA has plans to hold advisory sessions for farmers. This is to help those, who are not familiar with tender proposals. When talking about the reaction of farmers, there is mixed reaction. All of them do not show interest towards new tenders as they fear about the cost of fresh technology and financing hardships.
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