SINGAPORE – Mr Malcolm Ong’s fish farms started out small about a decade ago, supplying 20kg a day to supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice.
On Thursday (Oct 28), he set aside 1.5 tons of fish for the first day of the Made in Singapore fair, held annually by FairPrice to raise awareness of local producers.
“FairPrice is the one retailer in Singapore that is super supportive of local producers – they are consistent,” said Mr Ong, chief executive of The Fish Farmer.
“I have been part of the fair since the very first one,” he said, adding that he makes sure to cater for the spike in demand during the fair.
The Fish Farmer was one of the local producers at the launch of the fair, which runs from Thursday till Nov 10 at all FairPrice outlets and its online store, and is in its 10th iteration this year.
Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and FairPrice group chief executive Seah Kian Peng launched the fair at the supermarket’s branch at Our Tampines Hub on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Mr Gan said food security is one of Singapore’s priorities and the resilience of its food supplies is achieved through a multi-pronged approach.
“First, we want to diversify our imports and make sure we have multiple sources of imports so that we are not relying on any particular one.
“Secondly, we want to grow our own,” he said. “By consuming local products, we also help our local producers to scale up. With economies of scale, they then will be able to play an important part in our food resilience strategy.
He added: “This Made in Singapore fair is part of the effort to raise awareness of the attractiveness and tastiness of locally produced food products.”
Mr Gan said that supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic underscored the importance of local food production.
FairPrice also announced that it would extend its support and development programme for small- and-medium enterprise (SME) suppliers for another year.
It has set aside $2.5 million, up from $2 million last year, to provide aid such as halving the costs to process and list new products.
Mr Seah said the budget was increased to provide a sustained means of support for local businesses affected by Covid-19.
“If there wasn’t this collaboration, I think our quest of moving towards 30 (by) 30 would be a lot harder to achieve,” he said, referring to the national goal to produce 30 per cent of Singapore’s nutritional needs locally by 2030 through increased innovation in the agri-food industry.
One FairPrice customer who buys local is Mr Dilton Yong.
The 27-year-old social worker said he buys locally produced lettuce sold under FairPrice’s Pasar house brand.
Although he pays a little more compared to imported lettuce, he said the difference is minor.
“I figure, if it helps with lowering my carbon footprint, why not?”
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