Going overseas to be farmers: Preserving grains of Sri Lankan heritage

Mrs Cynthia Wee-Hoefer planted the first batch of heirloom rice in late October at her farm in Illuketia, Sri Lanka, and hopes to harvest about 1,000kg of milled rice by next month.
Mrs Cynthia Wee-Hoefer planted the first batch of heirloom rice in late October at her farm in Illuketia, Sri Lanka, and hopes to harvest about 1,000kg of milled rice by next month.PHOTO: COURTESY OF CYNTHIA WEE-HOEFER

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.

Former journalist Cynthia Wee-Hoefer reckons being a farmer in Sri Lanka is a chance to preserve part of the South Asian country's heritage.

Mrs Wee-Hoefer, 67, is growing heirloom rice, one of the nation's oldest exports, but one that is losing favour with the locals.

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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 'Preserving grains of Sri Lankan heritage'. Print Edition | Subscribe