SINGAPORE - Local food produce suppliers will continue to benefit from shortened payment terms and promotion of their products, with the amount of support doubled to $2 million and the eligibility criteria widened under a scheme which helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Local supermarket chain FairPrice on Thursday (Oct 1) said it will extend the SME Suppliers Support and Development Programme for another year until Oct 31, 2021.
Some 470 SMEs have benefited from the scheme since it was introduced in 2009 to help the cooperative's SME partners overcome restructuring challenges and tide through the global financial crisis. The programme was brought back in 2012 and has been extended annually since then.
The scheme usually costs FairPrice more than $1 million annually.
The eighth extension of the scheme was announced at the launch of the supermarket chain's ninth Made in Singapore fair, an initiative which provides a platform for local producers to showcase locally produced food items.
Under FairPrice's programme, assistance provided includes accelerated payment through the shortening of the payment term by 30 days for suppliers with payment terms of 60 days and above. So if a supplier is currently under a payment term of 75 days, this will be shortened by 30 days to 45 days.
Other assistance under the programme includes discounts on processing and listing fees for suppliers' new products and special consideration for inclusion in the FairPrice house brand programme.
FairPrice will enhance the programme this year by widening the eligibility criteria to include more SMEs, increasing the discount on listing fees for new products, and providing additional marketing and promotional support.
It will expand the criteria on annual turnover - from $5 million to $8 million - to allow more suppliers to be eligible for the programme.
It will also offer discounts of 50 per cent on both processing and listing fees for their new products, up from the 30 per cent discount on listing fees previously, in a bid to reduce SMEs' business costs and widen opportunities for growth.
The programme's other new features include seminars for enterprises to gain industry insights, a 50 per cent discount on sales reports and the ability to promote or sell their products on FairPrice's online marketplace platform.
FairPrice carries about 6,000 locally-made products, of which about 35 per cent are sourced from local SMEs.
"Every bit helps," said Mr Seah Kian Peng, group chief executive of FairPrice Group. "Being a local enterprise, we are doing our part to help grow local enterprises and support our local products. Through this, we can help Singapore, which we have been doing for the past eight years."
Mr Thomas Pek, the immediate past president of the Singapore Food Manufacturer's Association and managing director of Tai Hua Food Industries, said that FairPrice's programme has helped some food businesses that faced a shortage of capital or funds, due to the pandemic, by paying them earlier.
This year's Made in Singapore fair features about 50 locally made products, including daily groceries, fresh and frozen products and household necessities. The fair runs from Thursday until Oct 14 at all FairPrice stores and FairPrice Online, offering savings of up to 27 per cent.
Such events are in line with Singapore's broader "30 by 30" goal, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Manpower Tan See Leng, who toured the local products on sale at FairPrice's Our Tampines Hub outlet.
The 30 by 30 goal is for 30 per cent of Singapore's nutritional needs to be produced locally by 2030.
Dr Tan added: "Because the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged many economies, we want to now achieve '30 by 30' even earlier."
Last Friday, Enterprise Singapore and FairPrice's e-commerce platform, FairPrice Online, also launched an online initiative to help Singapore food manufacturers diversify their revenue streams.
The initiative, called YummySG!, is hosted on FairPrice Online's Marketplace platform and aims to bring together local products to provide higher visibility to consumers and differentiate them from other products.
Additional reporting by Ang Qing
Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.