Local food producers get boost with extension of NTUC FairPrice's support scheme

(From left) Citiponics chairman Teo Hwa Kok, NTUC FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, and Citiponics co-founder Danielle Chan at the Made in Singapore fair held on Oct 17, 2019.
(From left) Citiponics chairman Teo Hwa Kok, NTUC FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, and Citiponics co-founder Danielle Chan at the Made in Singapore fair held on Oct 17, 2019.PHOTO: NTUC FAIRPRICE

SINGAPORE - Suppliers of local food produce will continue to benefit from shortened payment terms and promotion of their products, with the extension of a scheme which targets small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) suppliers on Thursday (Oct 17).

Local supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice has extended the SME Suppliers Support and Development Programme until Oct 31 next year.

About 400 SMEs have benefited from the scheme, which costs FairPrice more than $1 million annually, 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 seventh extension of the scheme was announced at the launch of the supermarket chain's eighth "Made in Singapore" fair, an initiative which provides a platform for local producers to showcase locally produced food items.

Under the programme, assistance provided include accelerated payment terms of 30 days instead of 60 days and above, and discounts on processing and listing fees for suppliers' new products.

Locally made products by suppliers are also promoted in stores and at product fairs.

"This initiative aims to help our local SME partners enhance their business capabilities and at the same time ease challenges small businesses face, such as cash flow," said Mr Tng Ah Yiam, deputy chief executive and head of products at FairPrice.

FairPrice carries about 5,000 locally made food products, of which 30 per cent are sourced from SME suppliers.

Around 40 local products, including vegetables grown using urban farming methods, are featured at this year's fair.

 

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, speaking at a doorstop interview at the launch event, said the programme was a good platform for these suppliers to enter the market and gain brand recognition among consumers.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said such fairs allow consumers to try local produce and decide how they can support local brands.

For local companies to venture overseas successfully, they need to first build up their presence in Singapore, and this is dependent on local consumers' support, he noted.

If Singapore can grow food products, package and sell them in the domestic market, this will allow the country to reduce its carbon footprint as it cuts down on the logistics required for imports, he added.