62 farmers with plots of land in Lim Chu Kang will have to relocate and tender for new plots designated by the Government. It has been noted by numerous farmers that these new plots of land are substantially smaller than their current locations.
Additionally, the money originally invested in the initial setting up and construction in the farmers’ current plots of land will likely go to waste, with no compensation in the works to aid them in their move.
One of the farms affected is Jurong Frog Farm, headed by Chelsea Wan, 33, who grew up on the farm run by her family. The farm’s current land lease is not slated to be renewed by the Government beyond June 2017. Instead, the land will be converted into a military training ground.
This news was first made known to farmers over a year ago, when the Singapore Land Authority announced in September 2014 its intentions not to extend the leases for the farms after their expiries. The farmers will hence have to move out of their current plots between 2017 and 2021.
It is said that the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) requires the land for military purposes due to land it is giving up for the development of Tengah New Town in the west area of Singapore.
Ms Wan and Jurong Frog Farm were recently featured on Channel 5 show On The Red Dot this month.
Additionally, in March 2016, the authorities recognised the Kranji farms as tourist attractions and places that provided educational opportunities, with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) erecting signages identifying the area as a tourist point of interest.
The Lim Chu Kang is currently home to a wide array of farming businesses, from vegetable plots to frog farms to farms raising goats for their milk. Apart from the agricultural output of these farms, many owners are putting in efforts to make their businesses more relevant by organising educational farm tours and stays.
Nevertheless, out of the 100 farms in the area, the 62 farms will not only have to move out, but will also have to still meet minimum production levels and land use conditions in order to be eligible to apply for new leases or extensions.
According to the Ministry of National Development (MND) in 2014, the criteria for land-based and non-food farms is that they have to use at least 90 percent of their land for production and meet minimum output levels.
Speaking to an industry insider, TOC understands that many of the farmers will have to give up on the trade, given that most of the farmers are already of a certain age, and that it will be a daunting task to meet the minimum production level during the shift as infrastructure of the farm has to be rebuilt while accounting for the time needed for the recultivation of plants and animal crop.