Singapore Subsidizes Food Producers

DR. PAUL PS TENG

Food producers in Singapore get a hefty subsidy from the government.

These include people who grow fish in cages in the marine waters and urban dwellers who grow vegetables where they live in the city state.

One grower of high-value marine species in cages is Prof. Paul PS Teng, Senior Fellow (Food Security) at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

He and a couple of partners are culturing grouper, pompano, seabass and snapper – all very high-value species. These are grown into one to two-kilo sizes and made into fillet.

The partners grow their fish in 90 cages, manned by just one Burmese caretaker. Very recently, they acquired 20 new cages worth S$50,000. Half of the amount was paid for by the government as its incentive to food producers.

Dr. Teng said that there are about a hundred investors raising fish about three kilometers from the Singapore coast. They all receive financial incentives from the government.

Dr. Teng’s caretaker receives S$1,000 a month which he can all save because he has free food and accommodation. He has his own quarters at sea where he can cook his favorite food. He also has his own radio and TV. Good thing, there is no typhoon in Singapore.

Dr. Teng said that sometimes they have a hard time looking for supplies of fingerlings. Which means this could be a market for fingerlings from the Philippines like those produced by Finfish Harcheries of the Alcantara Group.

Dr. Teng also said that many of the fishcage owners are looking for knowledgeable workers who could be assured a pay of at least a thousand Singapore dollars a month. That’s about P32,000 monthly.

By the way, we met Dr. Teng at the Syngenta Media Workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on October 29 -31, 2012. He talked on the Rice Bowl Index developed by Syngenta, Frontier Strategy Group and himself.  The Rice Bowl Index is a tool that could help countries adopt right strategies that could help them achieve food security.
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