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SFA awards tender for nine HDB carpark rooftop sites for urban farming

THE Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has awarded the tender for nine sites at the rooftops of Housing and Development Board (HDB) multi-storey carparks for urban farming, it said in a joint press statement with HDB on Wednesday.

Five single sites, and two cluster sites comprising two sites each, were awarded to six tenderers.

The tenders for the single sites were won by four companies and an individual, Gaurav Saraf.

IT Meng Landscape & Construction will pay S$24,000 in annual rent for a 1,934 square metre (sq m) site at Blk 513A Choa Chu Kang Street 51.

Nature's International Commodity will pay S$33,600 annual rent for a 2,526 sq m site at Blk 723A Tampines Street 72, while Abyfarm will pay S$39,993 annual rent for a 3,171 sq m site at Blk 352A Ang Mo Kio Street 32.

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Red Green Collective will pay S$32,000 annual rent for a 2,317 sq m site at Blk 260 Kim Keat Avenue, while Mr Saraf will pay S$20,000 in annual rent for a 1,808 sq m site at Blk 946A Hougang Street 92.

The tenders for the two cluster sites were won by IT Meng Landscape & Construction and Eyleen Goh Lay Keow.

IT Meng Landscape & Construction will pay S$90,000 in total annual rent for a 2,974 sq m site at Blk 276 Jurong West Street 25 and a 3,311 sq m site at Blk 273 Jurong West Avenue 3. Meanwhile, Ms Goh will pay a total annual rent of S$88,656 for a 2,551 sq m site at Blk 354 Admiralty Drive and a 1,831 sq m site at Blk 316A Sembawang Vista.

The sites are being offered for rental for a period of three years, with the option to renew for two further periods of three years each. They will be used to farm vegetables and other food crops, as well as for other related purposes such as the packing/storage of produce, SFA said earlier this year.

The tender was launched on May 12 and closed on June 16. In June, the agency said it had received 74 proposals for the single sites and 14 proposals for the cluster sites.

In the statement, SFA and HDB said the sites were tendered using the price-quality tender method, where both bid price and quality attributes such as production output, design and site layout and business/marketing plan were factored into the tender evaluation.

SFA chief executive officer Lim Kok Thai said the successful tenderers' proposals included hydroponic and vertical farming systems with "a variety of innovative features", such as Internet of Things, blockchain technology and automated climate control.

With these farming systems, the sites have the potential to collectively produce around 1,600 tonnes of vegetables annually, he added.

Mr Lim said SFA is looking forward to seeing the HDB carpark rooftops transform into productive vegetable farms that will contribute to Singapore's "30 by 30" goal, adding that the agency will render assistance and guidance to farms where needed.

The "30 by 30" goal is for the Republic to produce 30 per cent of its nutritional needs by 2030, to effectively buffer itself from supply disruptions.

Making more spaces - such as multi-storey carpark rooftops - available for commercial farming is one of SFA's strategies to achieve its "30 by 30" goal, according to the statement. The move is also in line with HDB's Green Towns Programme to intensify greening in HDB estates, it added.

SFA will continue to work with HDB to tender out more multi-storey carpark rooftop sites for urban farming in the fourth quarter.

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