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AVA to launch tenders for new agriculture land, focusing on productivity

NEW agriculture land for food farming in Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah is slated for tender from August this year.

These will be the first tenders in about two decades, and come at a time when many existing leases are coming due in a couple more years.

What is also notable about these tenders is that they will be using new land tender methods, with greater emphasis on productivity gains, rather than land price alone.

For leafy vegetables, food fish, beansprouts and quail eggs farming, the new farm land will be tendered using a fixed price tender method, meaning that the land price is already fixed, taking guidance from market valuation, and farmers will compete purely on their tender proposal.

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For other general agriculture food farming, it will use a concept and price method, where tenderers who meet the criteria are shortlisted; the tender would then be awarded to the shortlisted tenderer with the highest price.

In a media briefing, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) chief executive officer Tan Poh Hong said: "Local production will continue to remain an important part of our food security agenda because it provides us with a buffer in times of global supply disruptions. However, what is needed is really a transformation in this sector, so that the strategy to be a buffer can be meaningful. The government is working closely with the private sector to achieve this. But farmers must play their part; they must be willing to step up and embrace technology."

With competing uses of land, the local agriculture sector must also innovate and adopt modern practices to be more productive given these land constraints, AVA said.

A total of 36 plots of farm land will be tendered out in the next few years. AVA recognises that some farmers may not be familiar with putting up tender proposals based on concepts, as farm land tenders have traditionally been based primarily on land price. To help farmers, AVA will conduct advisory sessions on the drafting of tender proposals before every tender launch.