62 farms in Lim Chu Kang have been asked to move and will be overtaken by military uses, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
Mindef said that because it is giving up some of its current training grounds for the development of the new Tengah New Town, it needs to take over the land in Lim Chu Kang.
The leases and tenancies of the farms expire between 2014 and 2021.
The leases which expire between 2014 to early 2017 will be extended until June 2017. The farms with leases which expire after June 2017 are allowed to remain until their time is up.
AVA will open up new sites for farming at Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah but interested farmers would have to bid for them. The farmers affected by the demise of their leases will not be automatically relocated new farms.
The new farming plots will shrink. AVA said that, “new sites will have a smaller land area” because of “limited land for farming”.
AVA also said that it will help farmers “to raise their productivity and intensify the use of limited farmland through the adoption of technology and automation.”
In August, a S$63 million Agriculture Productivity Fund was launched by AVA to “achieve higher productivity” and “use farmland more efficiently”.
However, there is very strict criteria. Farmers would have to adhere to “minimum production levels”. It is unknown if farmers who are unable to do so, when faced with natural calamities for example, will face penalties. According to news reports, if they are not able to meet the production levels, they might lose their farms.
Not only that, the 62 farms affected by the Lim Chu Kang takeover will actually not be able to use this fund, rendering the fund useless.
It is unsure which farms the fund will then benefit.
Farmers whom are affected by the move are unhappy by the move as the farms that they have spent a large part of their lives working on will disappear. And if they are unsuccessful in attaining new farmland, they would have to give up their business altogether. Not only that, the new farm plots are expected to be more expensive, which is likely to reduce the already slim profits for the farmers. As the Agriculture Productivity Fund is not accessible to these farmers, it is unclear what form of help the government will give to the farmers, if at all.
It is not known when Tengah New Town will be built.