62 farms in the Lim Chu Kang area to be affected by land use changes to build more HDB flats for larger population in Singapore.
According to the statement by Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to local media. The western part of Lim Chu Kang will be needed for military purposes. These plots of land will replace the current training grounds that Ministry of Defence is giving up for the development of Tengah New Town.
The 13.7ha new town is part of the plan to support the government's commitment to supply 700,000 new homes house a bigger population by 2030 for the controversial population white paper.
The affected farms in this area, whose leases or tenancies expire between 2014 and 2021, were informed in September of these developments. The farms whose leases or tenancies expire between 2014 to early 2017 will be given an extension till June 2017.
Those whose leases expire after June 2017 can remain till the end of their current leases, said the AVA. Those who wish to continue their farming businesses can then bid for new sites at Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah from next year.
“Given our limited land for farming, the new sites will have a smaller land area compared to the existing sites. This is why we are helping our farmers to raise their productivity and intensify the use of limited farmland through the adoption of technology and automation,” said AVA.
The Government has increased the percentage of land use for production purposes from 70 per cent to 90 per cent for production purposes. AVA launched a S$63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund earlier this month to help local famers invest in new and high-tech farming equipment and systems.
"As the leases would have run their course till expiry", reportedly said by AVA. The affected farms will not receive any compensation due to the land use changes.
"We have communicated clearly and as early as we could to the affected farms so that they can make alternative plans ahead of the expiry of their leases.” - AVA
Farmers such as Mr John Hay, Managing Director of Hay Dairies goat farm spoke to local media that if the farm was expected to meet production quotas with the help of high-tech equipment, it would have to invest at least S$4 million to S$5 million.
Jurong Frog Farm’s manager Ms Chelsea Wan also said, “It means that we have very little flexibility on how we can try to attract local tourism into this area."
Farms at the new locations marked by AVA must meet production quotas, or risk losing the site.
Reception of this news by citizens has been largely negative with many citing the loss of the scarce and precious remaining natural environment and arable land for the sake of development for a larger population.