Going overseas to be farmers: Driven by worry over Singapore's food security

Former civil servant Lai Poon Piau's 10ha pepper farm in Kampot, in south-western Cambodia, now has 20,000 vines, which were first harvested last year and yielded a tonne of peppers.
Former civil servant Lai Poon Piau's 10ha pepper farm in Kampot, in south-western Cambodia, now has 20,000 vines, which were first harvested last year and yielded a tonne of peppers.PHOTO: COURTESY OF LAI POON PIAU

Farming is a far-fetched notion in land-scarce Singapore, but that has not stopped some entrepreneurial Singaporeans from venturing overseas to pursue their agrarian dreams. Those dreams are driven by a variety of factors, from easing food security concerns to a taste for fresh produce to creating jobs for locals in their host countries. Aw Cheng Wei reports.

Shovelling manure to make fertiliser, weeding and organising harvests keep former civil servant Lai Poon Piau pretty flat out when he is on his pepper farm in Kampot in south-western Cambodia.

Mr Lai visits the 10ha farm, where he grows Kampot peppercorn, every other month and stays for a week each time.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2018, with the headline 'Driven by worry over S'pore's food security'. Print Edition | Subscribe