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Embracing Change, Charting the Path: In Singapore’s Agri-food & Business Sector

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The winds of change signaled much uncertainty to the market, as the climate is subject to radical movements causing disruptions to businesses and livelihoods. As we look forward to what is said to be “the endemic”, the Singapore Agri-Food and Business industry has put into place the duly checks in accounting for fresh produce, both imports and exports, with the taking of necessary precautions to prevent any circumstances of supply depletion. More notably, at the spike of the pandemic, the industry experienced intermittent turbulent waves with real-time hard-hit pressure, as the sector had to ensure sufficient food supply with no stoppage in global supply chain processes during such unprecedented times. As market demands surge to an all-time high through these trying times, the sector is seen to emerge strong with adequate resources, be it pre-pandemic days or in charting the path forward.

Overview of the Meat market in Singapore
Singapore has seen around $1.5 billion worth of meat every year, as per the Meat Traders’ Association 2020 Average Yearly Report, based on statistics consolidated from 2010 to 2019. Meat Traders’ Association (MTA) oversees meat supply, of which the company comprises of meat importers, exporters, and producers in Singapore. MTA also works with government agencies and embassies in Singapore to strengthen ties and continue to build strong resilience in Singapore.

Statistics of Meat Supply in Singapore
Pork In Singapore, it imports around 116,000 tonnes of pork per year, with a value of $485 million, of which there is consumption of $20 million of pork per capita, per year. The statistical breakdown from the Average Yearly Report from 2010 to 2019 is of 67% Frozen Pork, and 33% of Fresh Pork. Majority of the pork comes from the following countries, of which the Frozen Pork comes mainly of 31% from Brazil, 9% from Netherlands, and 8% from Spain. As for Fresh Pork, 10% is from Australia, and 20% from Indonesia. Popular import pork items include: Belly; Ham/ Leg; Softbone/ Rib/ Riblet; Side; Shoulder. Beef As for Beef, Singapore imports around 32,000 tonnes per year, with a value of $285 million. In Singapore, there is consumption of 6kg of Beef per capita, per year. The statistics is attributed from the market demand in Singapore in relation to the cosmopolitan population and religious backgrounds. From the average yearly report from 2010 to 2019 of Beef import, 56% comes from Brazil, 27% from Australia, 8% from the United States, 7% from New Zealand, and 1% from Japan. Top import beef items include: Knuckle/ Flank; Shank; Crop/ Forequarter; Chunk/ Blade; Striploin; Leg/ Hindquarter. The 20 April 2021 US Meat Market Outlook webinar organised by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) showcase statistics that US is more efficient in beef production, in which is around 46% more as compared to the figures in Europe and Australia.

Continual Developments for Quality Assurance: Meat Traders’ Association (MTA) Meat Traders’ Association Singapore (MTA) was established in 2001, comprising of members from the meat production & trading industry nationwide. They have also branched out to its recent venture into France, Latin America, and Taiwan, as part of their diversification efforts.

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Forging Partnerships
In the event of business relations, MTA President, Mr. Alvin Kwek makes the effort to attend to these meetings in-person to establish common ground between both parties.

Timeline of Events: 2021

Achieving another special milestone: 20th Anniversary
In celebration of their 20th anniversary, MTA has also announced their donation drive with their members, contributing a total of S$20,600 for the All Saints Home and Moral Home for the Aged Sick. A list of contributors can also be found in the announcement. A full-page feature of the announcement was also published on The Straits Time, Singapore daily broadsheet newspaper owned by Singapore Press Holdings. This includes special thanks to their Honorary Advisors, which includes the Minister of State: Ms. Low Yen Ling. With its forthcoming and progressive longstanding efforts that includes the expansion of network for imports and exports worldwide, MTA has also extended thanks to the different friends and partners for the support over the past 20 years.

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Ambassador meetings
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Photo courtesy of Meat Traders’ Association


Roadmap for the future
In paving the strategic direction for the future in relation to the Operation & Technology Roadmap, there was the meeting between MTA and NTUC-U SME held on 3 September 2021. “U SME” is NTUC’s labour movement initiative which supports Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in their business needs. Also, the pre-budget webinar on 14 January 2021 with then Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Heng Swee Keat, and government leaders also saw MTA’s involvement.

Poultry Partnership in support of Singapore’s Food Security
Partnerships that saw the involvement of MTA include the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between MTA and “KRD IG”. The following MOU in relation to “Poland – New Poultry Partner in Support of Singapore’s Food Security” was held on 28 September 2021, of which took place via webinar with business-to-business (B2B) sessions. The event was also held in conjunction with the National Poultry Council Chamber of Commerce, which had seen the involvement of the Ambassador of Poland in Singapore, Her Excellency Ms Magdalena Bogdziewicz, Director General of “KRD IG” Dariusz Goszczyñski, alongside MTA President, Mr. Alvin Kwek.

Industry Relations

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
Meeting with industry partners through events showcase MTA’s collaborative partnership with countries in sourcing for supply and ensuring food-grade quality and standards are met. Such events like the USAPEEC (USA Poultry & Egg Export Council) webinar held on 30 June 2021 gave both parties the networking opportunity to touch base on United States’ Poultry exports in a changing global environment. MTA’s members and guests were among the attendees, including Ms Joelyn Ng from SFA (Singapore Food Agency) and Mr. Victor Poh from ESG (Enterprise Singapore).

True Tastes of Belgium
True Tastes of Belgium was another iconic two-day webinar organised by Flanders Investment & Trade Singapore (FIT) of the Embassy of Belgium, which spanned across two days from 2 to 3 March 2021. It had the showcase of 25 Belgian companies sharing their products in the market, in which guests were invited by the Belgian Meat Office to interact with Belgian Meat suppliers and gain first-hand knowledge into the Art of Belgian Pork. Some products on feature included Pralines, Artisan croquettes, Belgian fries, Specialty Beer, Artisanal Spirits, Healthy Snacks, and Gingerbread. Through these events, it reinforces the affable relationship between Meat Traders’ Association in Singapore and its Belgium counterpart. GlobalConnect@SBF An initiative by Singapore Business Federation, GlobalConnect@SBF is an apex business chamber which leads the Singapore business community in the areas of Trade, Investment, and Industrial Relations. It represents around 27,000 companies, including both local and and foreign. GlobalConnect@SBF is also supported by Enterprise Singapore, and its Knowledge Partners include Eye on Asia. Since its inception in November 2019, GlobalConnect@SBF is a platform for businesses to learn more about new markets and find strategic ways to make their presence known not only in Singapore, but also widen their exposure across borders. One of the GlobalConnect@SBF includes the inaugural SBF-LABG (Latin American Business Group) Mexican Beef & Pork Webinar, of which the following B2B Meeting between the MTA and industry partners was held on 7 May 2021. Industry leaders from various Meat-Trade organisations who attended the following webinar included Mr. Alvin Kwek, who is also the Vice-Chairman of LABG’s Executive Committee as appointed by Singapore Business Federation on 27 December 2020, alongside his designation as the President of the MTA, amongst other professionals:
• Mr. Prasoon Mukerjee, Chairman of Latin American Business Group
• His Excellency Augustin Gracia-Lopez Loaeza, Ambassador of Mexico in Singapore
• Ms Ir. Alejandra Aceves, Director of the Mexican Pork Exporters Association
• Mr. Roger Perez, President of the Mexican Beef Exporters Association
• Ms Joelyn Ng, Assistant Director, Industry Development & Community Partnership, Singapore Food Agency Sustaining longstanding business partnerships MTA also played an integral role in the facilitation of Singapore-Argentina relations. In commemoration of Argentina’s service in the sector, a farewell dinner was held in February 2021 by Singapore, of which both industry leaders, Mr. Alvin Kwek, the President of the MTA, and the Ambassador of Argentina Singapore, His Excellency Mr. Federico Barttfeld, of whom were among the distinguished guests. All in all, the Singapore Agri-Food and Business industry has made significant contributions to ensure that global supply chain processes involving food supply, including meat import and export, are adequate and sustainable even when faced with global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. More importantly, maintaining industry relations through partnerships has also built unwavering trust, rapport, and confidence in paving the way forward for a better future.