Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) whether the Government can consider longer leases for livestock farms beyond the current 20-year lease for all new agricultural land; (b) what is the rationale for determining such a 20-year lease; (c) whether the new Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund can align its co-funding quantum across projects in primary production of leafy vegetables, food fish and hen eggs, and projects in primary production of other food types; and (d) what is the rationale for a higher co-funding quantum for the former projects compared to the latter projects.
1 With only about 1% of land set aside for agriculture, we need to be judicious in the way we lease our limited agricultural land, especially as we strive towards our “30 by 30” goal to raise Singapore’s food production.
2 In 2017, AVA introduced the current 20-year lease model for agricultural land, after taking into account feedback from farms. The current lease model balances the need to ensure productive use of the land for agriculture, the amount of lease premiums payable by farms upfront, and to provide farmers with sufficient certainty on the lease duration to make capital investments. The Member had welcomed the move in Parliament then. SFA will continue to work with the agri-food industry to review the lease tenure policy as technologies mature and business models evolve.
3 On the co-funding quantums under the new Agri-food Cluster Transformation Fund (or ACT Fund), a higher funding cap and co-funding ratio is allocated to the production of leafy vegetable, food fish and eggs because these are commonly-consumed food items that our local agri-food industry is able to produce in a resource-efficient and commercially-sustainable manner. For these food items, there is also potential for Singapore to innovate in sustainable urban food production and export high-tech farming systems and solutions.
4 For other food types which are less commonly-consumed but contribute to Singapore’s food security, the funding quantum and co-funding ratio have been raised compared to the funding levels under the previous Agriculture Productivity Fund.