SINGAPORE: The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has set aside about 60 hectares of new agricultural land for food farming in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah, it announced on Thursday (May 11).
The land, which is divided into 36 plots, will be put up for tender in tranches from August this year. They will be tendered on 20-year leases instead of the previous 10-year blocks, as promised by AVA in 2016, to provide "more certainty" to farms and encourage them to invest in technologies.
The first tranche up for tender this August covers 12 plots of land which are meant for leafy vegetable farming, said AVA, while another three plots of land for fish farming will be slated for tender in October.
In the second quarter of next year, seven plots for vegetables, quail's eggs and general food farming will be open for tender. The remaining 14 plots, for leafy vegetables, bean sprouts and general agriculture farming, will be available from 2019 onwards.
General agriculture could involve frog, goat or cattle farming, according to AVA.
NEW METHODS USED TO TENDER LAND PLOTS
AVA said the new plots of land will be tendered using new methods. For leafy vegetables, food fish, beansprouts and quail egg farming, a fixed price tender method will be used.
Under this method, the land price will be fixed and those who make bids will compete purely on the tender proposals submitted.
For general agriculture farming, a concept and price tender method will be employed. Those who meet the evaluation criteria will be shortlisted, and the tender will be awarded to the shortlisted ones with the highest land price, according to AVA.
"Emphasis will be placed on the quality of proposals. This means that farmers will compete based on the best concepts proposed, with a focus on productivity gains rather than on land price alone," AVA said.
The criteria used to assess the tender proposals will involve:
- Production capability - ability to achieve high production levels
- Production track record - ability to achieve projected production levels based on past performance
- Relevant experience and qualification - ability to deliver results
- Innovation and sustainability - ability to use innovation to improve and sustain production, and maintain business viability
This means farmers with good production records and ideas that can optimise production and manpower will stand a good chance of winning the new plots.
“Those planning to participate in the upcoming tenders must seize the opportunity to adopt innovative agri-technologies to maximise land and labour productivity,” said AVA CEO Tan Poh Hong.
“We have been engaging farmers to help them overcome the challenges of adopting technologies. I am glad that many farmers recognise that technology is critical to the future of farming,” she added.
To help farmers be familiar with putting up tender proposals based on concepts, AVA said it would conduct advisory sessions on the drafting these proposals before the launch of every tender.
In a blog post on Tuesday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong had encouraged local farmers to take up plots of agricultural land which will be set aside to promote high-tech farming, adding that the Government will do more to help farmers adopt new technology.