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Farmland tender methods encourage innovation, technology

We thank Mr Chan Tzeh Wey (Encourage firms with farming experience to bid for tenders; Jan 25), and Mr Alex Siow Ching Hai (AVA's tender exercise for fish-farming land was fair; Jan 30) for their views on the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) farmland tender launched in October last year.

Local production is important for Singapore's food security. Given our land constraints, we must maximise land usage to boost local supply. This is why the AVA adopted a new approach to the farmland tenders.

Instead of the conventional price method, a fixed-price method was adopted for most of the tenders. Tenderers compete based on the quality of concepts proposed, with a focus on productivity.

The AVA also ensured that the tender period was sufficient for those who were interested to participate in the tender exercise. The tender period of 10 weeks was longer than the six-to eight-week period usually given for land tender exercises.

To help farmers prepare for the tender, we briefed them in May last year, and our farm account managers actively followed up to engage the farmers and provide further support. The AVA also conducted advisory sessions on the drafting of tender proposals.

The AVA would like to clarify that the tender proposals received are currently being evaluated and the tender has not been awarded.

The proposals will be evaluated based on production capability, production track record, relevant experience and qualification, and innovation and sustainability.

Local production is important for Singapore's food security. Given our land constraints, we must maximise land usage to boost local supply. This is why the AVA adopted a new approach to the farmland tenders.

While the AVA continues to work closely with farmers and support their efforts in transforming our agriculture sector to bolster food security, we urge members of the public to play a part by choosing local produce.

This will help to support the business of our local farmers and spur our farms to raise their production levels to meet the increased demand.

Melvin Chow

Group Director, Food Supply Resilience Group

Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority