$5.6 million funding boost for landscaping industry

The octagonal gazebo in the Botanic Gardens.
The octagonal gazebo in the Botanic Gardens.PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - With a remote mower bought with a Government grant, landscaping firm Ho Eng Huat Construction needed just one worker to mow lawns as compared to six.

That was an 80 per cent savings in man-hours achieved through technology.

To encourage the sector to adopt such technologies and become more productive, the Government is pumping in $3 million to enhance the Landscape Productivity Grant - a co-funding scheme announced three years ago with $3.6 million.

Another $2.6 million will go towards supply chain and skills studies for those in the landscaping industry, as well as on surveys to prepare the sector for the future.

The announcement was made on Saturday (Sept 24) by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee at Green Thumbs 2016 held at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Singapore needs to "evolve the way we green", he said. "The world is going to be quite different in the next 50 years. New technologies are on the market, new business models and innovative ideas will change how things are done."

Acknowledging that some nursery operators are anxious about their land leases expiring as soon as early next year, Mr Lee said the National Parks Board will extend nursery leases in Sungei Tengah and Neo Tiew Crescent to early 2019.

The Government has also set aside parcels of land for long-term nursery needs, he added. These will be launched in phases from mid-2018 onwards.