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SLA tendering out four sites at Sungei Tengah for agricultural use

By Satish Cheney, Channel NewsAsia
11 October 2007 1736 hrs

SINGAPORE : More land is being released for agricultural use, with four sites at Sungei Tengah being placed for tender on 20-year leases.

While set aside mainly for agricultural use, they can be tapped for commercial purposes too.

The total size of the four sites at Sungei Tengah up for tender is about 96,000 square metres, equivalent to 11 football fields.

The biggest site has an area of about three hectares while the smallest is about two hectares.

Besides traditional farming like vegetable and fish production, each site can be developed for commercial purposes, such as retail, food and beverage, as well as rustic accommodation and spa facilities.

According to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), this will enable the farmers to purse a better business model.

Teo Jing Kok, Deputy Director, Singapore Land Authority, said, "Sometimes the market changes and the commodities prices of these fluctuate. So, if they have a commercial use, they can have an additional source of income. So, they actually diversify their operations."

The tender follows the successful sale of three similar sites at Lim Chu Kang last year.

The sites at Lim Chu Kang fetched between S$300,000 and S$500,000 each.

But SLA believes Sungei Tengah may be a different case.

Mr Teo said, "...here, because it is Sungei Tengah, which is nearer to the Choa Chu Kang New Town and also (because of) better access by Kranji Expressway, (the) likelihood is the price will be higher, but I am not too sure how much higher because there hasn't been any sales there recently."

SLA plans to release more of such land at a steady rate to meet market demand and at the same time enable the existing market to grow before facing new competition arising from new sites.

Mr Teo said, "I think the number of people who are interested in farming activities - there's still only a fixed population that's interested in such activities. But, of course we do have some entrepreneurs who will go in there and see what else they can do with the land and come up with new, exciting activities, and hopefully draw customers there and also create some avenues of making money."

SLA said there has been strong interest by investors who want to develop new farms at Sungei Tengah and existing farmers here have also expressed interest in expanding their operations.

The tender for the four sites at Sungei Tengah closes on November 15. - CNA/ms