The founder of local rooftop farm ComCrop, Mr Allan Lim, was right to ask: “What role do local farms play in the whole ecosystem?” (What will it take for shoppers to buy local vegetables?, March 13).
The authorities encouraged entrepreneurs to set up farms to produce home-grown greens that are pesticide-free and eco-friendly to increase the supply from local sources. But at what cost?
Some of the 110 vegetable farms now realise that their ventures are increasingly unprofitable, given that their business models are unrealistic in trying to get Singapore consumers to pay double the price they pay for imported vegetables.
The role of local vegetable farming in the food ecosystem needs to change. Would selling direct to eateries and caterers, with their larger volumes and more consistent demand, be a better strategy for local farms?
Instead of letting each vegetable farm struggle on its own, perhaps setting up a cooperative to achieve economies of scale would be a more viable approach.
Liu Fook Thim