New $63 million fund to boost productivity in farming

Jack Ng, 51, CEO of Sky Greens. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Jack Ng, 51, CEO of Sky Greens. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Iris Goh, 49, a farm hand at Sky Greens harvesting the vegetable Nai Bai. Sky Greens is Singapore's first vertical farm. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Iris Goh, 49, a farm hand at Sky Greens harvesting the vegetable Nai Bai. Sky Greens is Singapore's first vertical farm. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Minister of State for National Development and Defence, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman talks to farm hand, Ng Boon Guan, 63, and Iris Goh, 49 (right), during a tour of Sky Greens Farm. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Minister of State for National Development and Defence, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman talks to farm hand, Ng Boon Guan, 63, and Iris Goh, 49 (right), during a tour of Sky Greens Farm. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Minister of State for National Development and Defence, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman talks to Jack Ng, CEO Sky Greens Farm during a tour of the farm. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Minister of State for National Development and Defence, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman talks to Jack Ng, CEO Sky Greens Farm during a tour of the farm. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - A new $63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund to help local farms boost yields and raise productivity was announced on Monday by Minister of State for National Development and Defence, Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman.

The fund will be divided into three schemes - basic farm capability upgrading, productivity enhancement for transformation, and research and development - and will be open for applications from October.

During a visit to Sky Greens urban farm in Lim Chu Kang, Dr Maliki also announced that all new farm sites tendered by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and lease extensions for existing farmland will have to meet new requirements.

They must use at least 90 per cent of land for farm production and meet minimum production levels. This will also apply to non-food farms such as ornamental fish farms.

For instance, leafy vegetable farms must have an output of 130 tonnes of produce per hectare per year.

AVA will also be tendering new farm sites with 10-year leases. Previously, farm sites were tendered with a 20-year tenure.