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The Last Farmers

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earthfriendly
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The Last Farmers

Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 2:46 am

He has not firmed up his plans, but the elder Mr Chai has a clearer game plan. He says: "If Singapore can't include us, I will bring my knowledge and expertise overseas."


http://www.soshiok.com/content/last-rem ... -singapore

These guys are doing their part in supplying the country with healthy produce. Surely there is a way to accommodate them and not drive their operation into the grounds.

I accidentally quoted over my original post and have to re-edit :oops: .
Last edited by earthfriendly on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 7:47 am

They should always be a part of the Singapore green landscape but I don't think this should have (directly) anything to do with the global food supply problems. In Singapore (and any heavily urbanized city) IMHO it makes more sense to educate people so they know the basics behind the farming, rather than to produce food to address some food shortage issues.

Besides, I thought there is an overproduction of food in the world. It is more about food distribution and its prices.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:03 am

Are there farmers within the city limits of any major world city? Real farmers, not subsidised-just-so-they-can-exist pretend farmers.

I doubt it. They're a conscious casualty of progress aren't they.

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Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:19 pm

By food supply, I was referring to the quality rather than quantity. Tainted food scandals and the emphasis on high yield vs nutritional value of the final product. I know farmers need to maintain profit in order to stay in business but over-commercialisation of farming industry comes with a cost.

Not too sure what is considered real farming. Sometimes, I get the potted plants like basil and rosemary for my own cooking, so I can always have it on hand. Is that considered fake farming?

Farmers are not the only ones under attack, those who run factory businesses are discouraged from operating within SG soil. Real estate comes at a premium in the land scarce country. Govt. probably aim for industries that have the highest yield per square footage. That and they also like to move up the supply chain. I think it is healthier to strive for sustainability, self-sufficiency and a more balanced kind of society where each citizen feel they are able to contribute in their own way. Not everyone is interested to work in finance, biomedical or the next hot and sexy industry.

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Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:31 pm

I also don't believe in propping up unfeasible business models via govt. subsidies. However, I would make one big exception for the farming industry. Farming is financially unrewarding. Very much so. A farmer would be toiling 12 hours a day while an engineer working on the iphone project could be making 20 times (????) more given the same hours put it. I can live without iphones, ipad and iwatch. But I cannot survive without food. When we move away from the basics in life, it can be problematic. Priorities.............

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Re: The Last Farmers

Postby ecureilx » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:41 pm

actually the Aerophonic farms in the same vicinity are doing good business.

So is Mrs Ivy Lim Singh's business ..

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Postby taxico » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 1:40 pm

Singaporean firm's crop towers take vertical approach to solving land, water, energy issues

August 24 '14 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/0 ... BE1ohaM7NI

High-tech vegetable farms grow up

by Siti Rahil

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s small but advanced vegetable farming industry is attracting Japanese firms that are eager to invest in or adopt its technology for use in Japan.

Singapore has in recent years become a test bed for high-tech farming as the government encourages farms to explore innovative methods to overcome the chronic shortage of land and to reduce reliance on imports.

One of the success stories is Sky Greens Farm, which has developed Singapore’s first vertical farm, said to be one of a kind.

The farm grows vegetables vertically in towers several meters high by means of a high-tech system that uses the movement of irrigation water to slowly rotate the plants, grown in trays of earth, so they get the right doses of sunlight and water.

The system, invented by the farm’s founder, is patented and the farm has been approached by farmers from many parts of the world.

Singapore imports more than 90 percent of its food and has only a tiny farming industry that occupies about 200 hectares, less than 1 percent of its land area of 71,000 hectares.

The farms focus on producing leafy vegetables, fish and eggs for local consumption.

[b]“We can make better use of our land by consolidating activities that require large amounts of land, such as military training, golf courses and farming, to release more land for other uses,”
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:31 pm

Interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 12 Sep 2014 1:09 am

earthfriendly wrote:I also don't believe in propping up unfeasible business models via govt. subsidies. However, I would make one big exception for the farming industry. Farming is financially unrewarding. Very much so. A farmer would be toiling 12 hours a day while an engineer working on the iphone project could be making 20 times (????) more given the same hours put it. I can live without iphones, ipad and iwatch. But I cannot survive without food. When we move away from the basics in life, it can be problematic. Priorities.............


Whats "the iphone project"? And how much does an arbitrary "engineer" make working on it? Are we talking Sir Jony Ive, or peon engineer that's sitting three to a cubicle trying to perfect the tolerances on the charging cable's fit where it slides in and out?

If a farmer can't make a profit, they should do something else. Subsidies are always bad. Maybe iPhones should cost less and food more.

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 12 Sep 2014 9:17 am

earthfriendly wrote:Not too sure what is considered real farming. Sometimes, I get the potted plants like basil and rosemary for my own cooking, so I can always have it on hand. Is that considered fake farming?


I can see the scene now, EF visits a 'farm show' in Englands deep west-country...
Farmer1 - I've got 12,000 acres of arable, mostly wheat and barley, and a flock of 250 sheep.
Farmer2 - I've got a 300-head dairy herd, 300 pigs and 1,000 laying hens. How about you EF?
EF: - Oh I've got a pot of basil, and a second of rosemary.

My father has always kept a vegetable garden. Useful during the 70s when the economy imploded, as it provided just about all the household vegetable needs [barring potatoes IIRC, as they were cheap as chips, even then, plus growing them takes up a great deal of space]. But he'd never have referred to himself as a 'farmer' in any shape or form. I'd define a farmer as someone for whom it's their sole occupation, as IME you can't be a part time one - cows don't tolerate days off :). I think it also requires scale such that you are producing crops/products for commercial sale.


earthfriendly wrote:I also don't believe in propping up unfeasible business models via govt. subsidies. However, I would make one big exception for the farming industry.



The difficulty is that a country has a responsibility to it's people to guarantee it's long-term food supply (there's a parallel with water in SG). You can't just 'open a farm' and be yielding crops etc in a flash. So if there's a bumper harvest in say the US or EU, such that import prices undercut the local production cost, you've got a threat to your longer term domestically produced food supply, as some farmers will go under, and they tend never to come back. That is why there is what is effectively 'guaranteed minimum pricing' plus the guarantee of the state being the buyer (or buyer of last resort) on several products.

This usually seems to work pretty well, though there have been peculiarities like the 1970s 'butter mountain' when way more butter than the market required was being produced and 'bought in' by the state, and it ended up with a ridiculously huuuuuge surplus of something like 3 years demand. That was back when some clever inventor devised a machine that turned molten butter + milk = cream, fresh cream itself being a luxury product back then.



earthfriendly wrote:Farming is financially unrewarding. Very much so.


Genuine :lol: There's an expression back home 'You'll never meet a poor farmer'. And you don't. They do tend to pretend they don't make much but I can assure you it's a myth. Most of them have nil or microscopic housing costs (a lot of UK farmers are life-tenants of the Crown), and a lot of stuff gets expensed (the Range Rovers, the new front drive, to the new stone-built double garage).


earthfriendly wrote:A farmer would be toiling 12 hours a day while an engineer working on the iphone project could be making 20 times (????) more given the same hours put it. I can live without iphones, ipad and iwatch. But I cannot survive without food.


Well it varies by season, but I'd suggest 12hrs would be a short day. Certainly during harvest they're at it 20hrs/day, lest it rains. Dairy farmers seem to be up at c4am preparing to get the herd in and might knock-off at say 7pm. It is an exceptionally demanding job, in hours but physically as well. That is why despite many of my closest schoolfriends being farmers sons, IIRC only one of them took up the right to take over his fathers tenancy and farm. Most people these days are simply not cut out for that kind of job-for-life. A parallel might be me offering you a guaranteed six-figure salary [nice!] to work as a futures pit-trader, BUT on the condition you have to sign-up for your entire working life [no way!]...

earthfriendly wrote:When we move away from the basics in life, it can be problematic. Priorities.............


Says you an posh expat sitting in SG in your lux home on your shiny new PC. Maybe you should give it all up, and return home to live in a tree... or wigwam, or summink? :)

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Postby The Ref » Sun, 14 Sep 2014 12:01 am

[quote="the Gahmen"]
“We can make better use of our land by consolidating activities that require large amounts of land, such as military training, golf courses and farming, to release more land for other uses,”


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