62 Lim Chu Kang farms to move out

62 Lim Chu Kang farms to move out
Ms Chelsea Wan’s Jurong Frog Farm has to move out of Lim Chu Kang when its lease ends in early 2017.

Singapore's frog princess, Chelsea Wan, 30, will soon be kissing her farm goodbye.

Her Jurong Frog Farm (JFF) is one of 62 farms that will have to move out of Lim Chu Kang when their leases expire between this year and 2021.

Another farm affected is Hay Dairies, home to almost 1,000 goats.

The tract of land in the western part of Lim Chu Kang will be converted for the military, replacing the current training grounds that the Defence Ministry is giving up for the development of Tengah New Town, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) in a statement yesterday.

The affected farms in the area whose leases or tenancies expire between this year and 2021 were informed last month of the changes.

Those farms whose leases or tenancies expire between this year and early 2017 will be given an extension until June 2017, AVA said. But the farmers will not be getting compensation as the leases will have expired.

"This means that my whole family will have to move out of our home," Ms Wan told The New Paper.

Her father, 62-year-old Wan Bock Thiaw, set up the farm in Jurong in 1981 and moved to the 0.6ha patch in Lim Chu Kang Road in 1997. The lease is due to expire in early 2017.

"I understand the plot of land offered would be much smaller, but I don't know how small or what the lease and payment would be like," Ms Wan said.

In its statement, AVA said that given the limited land for farming, the new sites will have a smaller land area than the existing ones. To help farmers raise productivity and optimise the use of limited farmland, the agency launched a $63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund this month.

But Ms Wan said that with the decreased land area, JFF will no longer be able to hold the educational tours or community outreach that "we have been organising for the past few years".

"It means that we will have very little flexibility on how we can try to attract local tourism into this area. We will just have to concentrate more on our food-processing business," she said.

Ms Wan intends to appeal for an extension so JFF can stay at the current place until 2021.

"The four extra years mean a lot. We will have more time to make more concrete plans for the business," she said.

juditht@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 31, 2014.
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