October 27, 2008


Singapore to establish "food zone" in Jilin province


Singapore is assuring a long term food security program by developing an integrated "food zone" in Jilin province in China.


Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the aim was to build a facility in Jilin City, located in the north-eastern part of China where swine will be bred and farmed with pork eventually processed and then exported.


Singapore has already signed an MOU with China with the Singapore Food Industries (SFI) and the Jilin city government heading the project, said Lee.


The project, which is included in the China-Singapore free trade agreement (FTA), is the first of its kind for Singapore.


Singapore's National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, who is also in Beijing as part of Lee's delegation, said the go-ahead for the project would depend on the results of a joint feasibility study that is expected to be completed in the next six to 12 months.


Mah said the Jilin food zone, in its initial phase alone where it would occupy five to 10 square kilometres of land, could supply up to 10 percent of Singapore's total pork demand.


The food zone project will be driven by the private sector, with government agency SFI likely to draw several partners to form a consortium. On the other hand, the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) will take on the role of food safety regulator.


While a pig farm is the most ideal way to kick things off, the food zone could well expand to include chicken farming and other products in the longer run.


As Singapore is currently buying food from many countries and diversifying its resources to ensure a steady stream of food coming in, Mah said the government has been studying this strategy to see how to build and go upstream and get involved in the production of food.


Mah stated this food zone project fits in very nicely with that strategy and Jilin can be one of the major suppliers of pork in Singapore, significantly helping the country's food stability.