Forum: Don’t just look at farms’ productivity

I refer to the articles, “Saying goodbye to a family farm after 60 years” (March 31, 2021); “Bidding farewell to a beloved organic farm in S’pore” (Aug 1); and “Orto leisure park in Yishun to shut by mid-2023 to make way for housing” (Aug 7).

These are some examples of farms and nature-based groups having to leave land they worked hard on.

Singapore has very strong land use planning, thanks to which we have good segregation of industrial, farming, educational, military and housing uses.

However, times have changed and there may be a need to exercise some flexibility on land use to take into consideration climate change, urbanisation challenges, education to appreciate the land and biodiversity protection, pandemic-inflicted economic hardship and other diverse challenges.

While every inch of Singapore’s land should be used productively, we also have to consider the carbon footprint of uprooting an established and thriving community of farms and nature-based education providers, which may feel that there is no place for them in modern Singapore.

We cannot just rely on high-tech farms to produce food – there are intangible benefits in working with the land and community.

If it is a productivity issue, can consultants offer their services to help these existing farms and non-governmental organisations be more productive?

I believe this is important as we need diverse options for food production and livelihoods.

Amy Choong Mei Fun (Dr)

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