Ambitious plans for Kranji farms

Esther Ng Today Online 20 Jan 11;

SINGAPORE - In spite of the uncertainty over its members' farming activities, the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA) yesterday unveiled an ambitious 10-year plan to promote tourism and increase food security through sustainable local food production.

Chief among the plans is to increase local supply of food by making current land more productive through "advanced sustainable high-yield technology, best agricultural practices and R & D of new products", according to KCA ordinary secretary Kenny Eng.

The association plans an audit of existing farms to better understand the current land use and food productivity of the Kranji farming area. Additionally, it hopes a farmers' market will catch on in Singapore within the next three years.

"We hope more people will become aware of local produce and where they buy their food," said Mr Eng.

The leases of the 28 farms under KCA will expire in two to 10 years. The association said it is in talks with the authorities to review the situation.

Over the next three years, the KCA plans to work with the Land Transport Authority to improve road safety, provide better cycling access and more public bus services.

Longer term plans include creating jobs for challenged and disadvantaged Singaporeans by getting them to do "simple and structured" work.

The association also hopes that polluting industries along the coastline and around Kranji Reservoir will be relocated, so as to rehabilitate the coastline and that recreational water sports can be introduced.

"We're serious enough to make this work. We want tourists to see our countryside and to do that we're going to have to think outside the box - create festivals and entertainment at farms," said Mr Eng.

The move comes as Kranji's countryside was recognised as Asia's best region to practice sustainability by a United States consumer movement promoting health and sustainability, Lifestyle of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS). The organisation has also made Kranji its Asia-Pacific headquarters.

Farmers' 10-year plan to grow bigger businesses
Group aims to set up market, boost transport links
Straits Times 20 Jan 11;

THE seed has been planted. Now farmers in Kranji are looking forward to reaping the rewards of an ambitious 10-year plan announced yesterday.

The aim? To help their businesses grow bigger and better.

They plan to set up a farmers' market, improve transport links to their rural premises and have their farms audited for productivity.

The move by the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA) comes as Singapore attempts to improve its food security by increasing food production and diversifying its food sources.

To boost production, the KCA will have its farms audited by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, which oversees them, to see how they can improve.

Over the next three years, the KCA, which represents 10 farms raising fish, animals and vegetables, also wants to set up a market selling local produce, get a public bus service started and improve cyclists' access in the area's narrow, winding lanes.

And over the next 10 years, it will work with agencies such as the National Environment Agency to redevelop the Lim Chu Kang jetty and employ more disadvantaged people.

Asked where the money will come from, KCA president Ivy Singh-Lim of Bollywood Veggies said they would make do with what they have: 'Farmers like us, we've existed all this while without much help in terms of money.'

Yesterday, the association gave three media groups awards for their coverage of rural issues.

The Straits Times' Ms Tan Hui Yee received one of three Kranji Awards for her series of stories on Singapore's farm areas. Ms Tan will donate her $2,000 award to the KCA. The others went to MediaCorp's Chinese-language Channel 8 and Chinese-language travel magazine Travellution.