Channel News Asia recently wrote an article about the uncertainties that local farmers currently face, following an episode of On the Red Dot which interviewed one of our youngest farmers, Chelsea Wan, from Jurong Frog Farm.
As Singapore’s Government cease to renew land leases for 62 farms starting June 2017, many farmers have to find their businesses a new home.
In most societies, farming is one of the most important industry, as it feeds a population. However, in land-scarce Singapore, where over 90% of our food are imported from other countries, it appears that farming is a neglected industry – the Government time and again reclaim farming land to make space for development and military training.
While the Government has set aside some land for farms to tender for, finding a new home for vegetables, goats and fishes is nowhere as easy as it seems. A huge amount of funds have to be re-invested onto a new plot of land, and it is simply asking an established business to start from scratch, all over again. In fact, building new infrastructure for farming will cost at least one million, and many years of planning and execution. By the time a newly built farm is ready to jump into action and prepare for its first harvest, it would be more than halfway through the new land lease. Moreover, the new plots of land may not be as suitable for farming – not all soil grows vegetables, and not all earth makes good ponds.
Hence, asking a farm to move, in every way contradicts the purpose of farming — to provide our population with affordable, even cheap, and healthy food grown in a sustainable way.
Even though Khaiseng Fish Farm remains unaffected this round, we are extremely concerned about the ceasing of lease renewal for the 62 farms in our neighbourhood. Not only has it forced many of our beloved neighbours and friends out of business, it completely undermines the importance of farming.
While making space for our defence forces to train and for new homes to be built is important, we must not neglect the importance of farming. Ensuring that a country produces food on its own is as important as bringing food home to the table for your family.
As we doubt that the decision can be undone, we hope to raise some awareness on the importance of farming in Singapore.
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The complete URL of the CNA report: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/unanswered-questions/2823076.html
CNA’s On the Red Dot – Unique Communities – Farmers and Friends: http://video.toggle.sg/en/series/on-the-red-dot-2016/ep8/405572