SINGAPORE: More than 20 hectares of land have been set aside for orchid nurseries in the first such move here, highlighting the importance of the national flower to Singapore.
The reserved land parcels will be located in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah, with the first tranche available for tender from June this year, the National Parks Board (NParks) said in a media release on Wednesday (Mar 14).
The locations of the orchid land parcels will be in close proximity to sites set aside for landscape nurseries, in order to allow operators to "aggregate and share resources", said NParks.
"This is the first time that land has been allocated for orchid nurseries by NParks, demonstrating the importance of orchids to Singapore’s heritage," it said in the release.
The land parcels will be available in two tenancy options.
One-hectare plots will be available under a tenancy model with renewal every three years, and two-hectare plots will be available under a model with renewal every 10 years.
The first four orchid nursery plots will be released for tender this year in two tranches, with the first tranche of two-hectare plots available for sale from June.
More tranches will be tendered in "2019 and beyond", NParks added.
Plots will come with some basic infrastructure "built up to the front gate", said the agency, adding that this will enable nurseries to quickly move in and will help them defray upfront capital investments.
It also explained that three-year renewal tenures are beneficial to nurseries who prefer paying monthly rental fees rather than an upfront land premium, while the 10-year renewal tenures require an upfront land premium payment and are intended to benefit nurseries that "intend to invest substantially in their operations".
Bidders must be qualified under the Nursery Accreditation Scheme prior to tender, said NParks.
Proposals will be evaluated on price and quality criteria, including the bidder's track record, proposed physical site layout and business concept and the use of technology to improve productivity and encourage innovation.
About 20 orchid nurseries are currently operating in Singapore and occupy land in locations including Seletar, Sungei Tengah and Lim Chu Kang.
NParks took over management of orchid nurseries from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority at the beginning of the year, and Wednesday's announcement is part of the agency's plans to develop land for orchid nurseries.
The agency will also work with orchid nurseries on the orchid industry masterplan to "sustain, grow and transform the sector", it said.