Tenders for Lim Chu Kang food fish farms awarded, more agricultural land to be launched in June

Tiffany Fumiko Tay Straits Times 18 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE - Three land parcels for food fish farming in Lim Chu Kang have been sold to two companies: Blue Aqua International and Apollo Aquarium.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), in announcing the award of the tender on Wednesday (April 18), said their proposals included such features as productive and innovative farming systems like multi-storey facilities with automated fish pumps and advanced water treatment processes.

The tender, which was launched on Oct 31 last year and closed on Jan 9, is the second tranche of AVA's tenders for new agriculture land.

In the first tranche, the tenders for 10 of the 12 parcels were awarded. The two unsold plots will be included in an upcoming tranche.

The latest sites for food fish farming, or the farming of fish for human consumption, were awarded under a fixed-price tender system.

This means that instead of competing on price, the tenders were evaluated on such factors as production capacity, track record and whether they can harness innovation to improve and sustain production.

The two plots going to Blue Aqua and Apollo Aquarium, each about 15,575 sq m, were sold at the fixed sale price of $378,000. The third plot of 23,961 sq m was sold to Apollo Aquarium for $587,000. The prices exclude the goods and services tax.

AVA's food supply resilience group director Melvin Chow said the farming technologies proposed by the three companies have the potential to raise the productivity of the agricultural sector and rely less on labour.

"Over time, this will strengthen our local farming eco-system and spur transformation to bolster Singapore's food security," he added.

Last year, the AVA said it will tender out 36 new plots of farmland on 20-year leases in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah. They add up to 60ha of land.

They will help fill the gap when the leases of 62 farms in Lim Chu Kang run out by end-2021 and the land is given over to military use.

The new plots will not totally fill the gap but the authorities hope they will encourage the use of high-technology farming to boost productivity and yield.

Two more tranches of new agricultural land for food and non-food farming will be launched in June, the AVA said in its statement.

In one tranche, three plots for general agriculture food farms, such as frog and cattle farms, will be tendered using concept and price. In the other, two quail egg plots and five vegetable plots will be tendered using the fixed price method.

More details on the tenders will be available on AVA's website when they are launched, it added.


High-tech fish farms coming up in Lim Chu Kang

Multi-storey facilities, automated processes in the works following land tender award
Tiffany Fumiko Tay Straits Times 19 Apr 18;

Fish farmer Eric Ng will have to give up his two farms in Seletar and Lim Chu Kang when their leases expire in the next three years.

But, yesterday, he heaved a sigh of relief when news reached him that his company, Apollo Aquarium, had been awarded the tender for two sites that are nearly double the size of his existing farms.

"We were very anxious, and as a precaution, we took up a plot in Brunei in case we had to move out of Singapore," Mr Ng, 45, told The Straits Times.

Apollo Aquarium, along with Blue Aqua International, has been sold land in Lim Chu Kang for the farming of fish for human consumption, in a move to boost yield from the shrinking supply of farmland in Singapore.

Last year, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said it would put out to tender 36 plots of farmland on 20-year leases in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah.

They will help fill the gap when the leases of 62 farms in Lim Chu Kang run out by end-2021 and the land is given over to military use.

While the new plots, which add up to 60ha of land, will not close the gap completely, the authorities hope the use of high-technology farming will boost productivity and yield.

The AVA, in announcing the award of the tender for three land parcels yesterday, said the two companies' proposals included productive and innovative farming systems such as multi-storey facilities with automated fish pumps and advanced water treatment processes.

The tender, which was launched on Oct 31 last year and closed on Jan 9, is the second tranche of AVA's tenders for new agriculture land.

The new sites for food fish farming were awarded under a fixed-price tender system.

This means that instead of competing on price, the tenders were evaluated on such factors as production capacity, track record and whether the companies can harness innovation to improve and sustain production.

Blue Aqua and Apollo Aquarium were each sold a plot of 15,575 sq m at the fixed sale price of $378,000. Apollo Aquarium's second plot of 23,961 sq m was sold for $587,000.

Mr Ng said that while his existing food fish farm in Lim Chu Kang is stacked three tanks high, the new farm is set to have an eight-tier system that, at full capacity, would raise his current annual yield of 110 tonnes to about 2,000 tonnes.

"It will be fully automated... we can monitor the entire farming system remotely. Before, we relied on experience, but now we depend more on technology," he said.

Dr Farshad Shishehchian, chief executive of Blue Aqua International group, which has 14 companies around the world, said the new farm, its first fish farm in Singapore, will rear tilapia, pompano and garoupa.

Using its patented intensive farming system, the company, which also has a shrimp farm in Lim Chu Kang, hopes to produce about 500 tonnes of fish and 200 tonnes of shrimp a year.

AVA's food supply resilience group director Melvin Chow said the farming technologies proposed by the companies have the potential to raise the agricultural sector's productivity and reduce its reliance on labour.

"Over time, this will strengthen our local farming ecosystem and spur transformation to bolster Singapore's food security," he added.

Local farms produce about 10 per cent of Singapore's fish supply, and the AVA aims to raise this to 15 per cent, with new technologies increasing the productivity of fish farming systems by at least three times, said its spokesman.

The AVA will launch two more tranches of new agricultural land for food and non-food farming in June, the spokesman added.

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