Community farmers reaping fruits of their labour

Community farmers reaping fruits of their labour
Haji Wansi Dahri diligently tends to his plot in the community farm located behind Block 305 Clementi Avenue 4. The retiree says doing so keeps him fit and gives him something to do in the day.

Retiree Wansi Dahri spends seven hours a day toiling under the hot sun.

The 79-year-old former fireman and paramedic diligently ploughs the soil and waters his crops, such as okra and sweet potato, so long as the weather is good.

"It keeps me fit and gives me something to do in the day," he said, adding that he used to help out on his parents' farm when he was a teenager.

This picture may hark back to the kampung days, but it is a daily occurrence deep in the heart of a Housing Board estate.

The community farm was launched six months ago. It comprises 30 plots measuring 8m by 4m each, located behind Block 305, Clementi Avenue 4. Farmers pay $60 a year to lease a plot.

Before this, more than 20 people had been illegally farming at the site, which was once shrouded by thick overgrowth. Others gathered to chat near a small shrine, while ponds had also been dug.

Lawyer Michael Chia, vice-chairman of Bukit Timah Citizens Consultative Committee (CCC), said this lasted for more than a decade, until the strip of land, which borders a railway track and was then owned by Malaysia, was returned to Singapore in a land swop agreement.

In 2011, residents complained to the Singapore Land Authority about burning leaves and mosquito breeding, prompting eviction notices.

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