Singapore

Ten land parcels for farming up for sale

Bean sprouts remain key produce as S'pore strives towards goal of producing 30 per cent of its food by 2030

The humble bean sprout continues to be a major part of Singapore's journey towards self-sufficiency in producing its own food.

In another step along this path, 10 land parcels for food farming in Lim Chu Kang were put up for sale yesterday by public tender by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

These include six land parcels for bean sprout farming, three land parcels for general agriculture (food) farming and one land parcel for vegetable farming, the agency said in a statement.

The land parcels for general agriculture (food) farming may be used to farm food crops, seafood, quail eggs, cattle or goats for dairy milk, and/or frogs reared for food.

The plots, which come with a 20-year lease, have a land area of at least 6,208 sq m each, which is slightly smaller than a football field.

The largest parcel has a land area of nearly 21,000 sq m and will be set aside for vegetable farming.

The land parcels are located at Sungei Tengah Road, Neo Tiew Crescent and Neo Tiew Harvest Place.

Local farmers are not surprised that the majority are earmarked for bean sprouts.

The bean sprout, they say, is a special crop that is nutritious and used in many local dishes, from chicken rice to mee rebus.

The bean sprout also grows fast, and the same innovations developed to grow healthy bean sprout crops might be applied to other similar plants, which some local farms are producing.

And new farms may soon sprout in the Sungei Tengah area, as Singapore works towards its goal of producing 30 per cent of the food it consumes by 2030.

NEW TECHNOLOGY

Farmers interviewed by The Straits Times welcomed the move to open up more land for food production in Singapore, citing the importance of having the space to develop new forms of technology to produce crops that can be sold cheaply.

Mr Allan Lim, founder and CEO of aquaponic farm Comcrop, told ST that the company would assess opportunities to expand, before deciding whether or not to bid for the new plot of land released for vegetable farming.

"Opening up these parcels of land will be significant - so that more companies can have the opportunity to test-bed what they want to do," said Mr Lim.

The SFA said in its statement yesterday that the farms have to be efficient in their use of scarce resources, such as land, water and energy, to achieve the country's "30-by-30" vision of meeting 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030.

"Farms should leverage technology to increase productivity and be sustainable and resilient against climate change," the statement said.

SFA added that proposals that can achieve high production levels in a sustainable manner will have a higher chance of being awarded the new land parcels.

Proposals will also be assessed on their production capability, track record, relevant experience and qualifications as well as innovation and business sustainability, including waste management.

The tender will close at noon on Aug 14.

Details of the land parcels are available on SFA's website at www.sfa.gov.sg/landsales.

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