Ms Tan Poh Hong
Chief Executive Officer
Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore
In Singapore, we enjoy a wide variety of safe food with peace of mind. As a testament to this, Singapore is ranked 3rd on the Global Food Security Index 2016 for ensuring the affordability, availability, quality, and safety of food. This achievement was made possible due to the robust programmes that the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has put in place. As part of AVA’s food supply resilience programme, source diversification is one of the core strategies that allows Singaporeans to savour safe food from about 170 countries wordwide. In terms of fruits and vegetables, more than 960,000 tonnes of such produce were imported from 59 and 47 countries, respectively, last year.
To encourage our importers to continually explore new sources, AVA organises overseas trips that Singapore Fruits & Vegetables Importers & Exporters Association (SFVIEA) members actively participate in. Last April, SFVIEA joined AVA and IE Singapore on a food sourcing trip to South Africa. This led to the successful imports of South African persimmons and pomegranate into our market.
Besides tapping into new potential sources, it is also useful to boost imports from existing ones. AVA has been working with Indonesian counterparts through the Indonesia-Singapore Agri-business Working Group to encourage bilateral trade in agricultural produce. The SFVIEA participated actively in the 13th Indonesia-Singapore Taskforce Meeting for Promoting Vegetables and Fruits Exports from Indonesia to Singapore held in Makassar, Indonesia in August 2015. As a result of such collaborations, fruit and vegetable imports from Indonesia rose by about 10% in 2015. Furthermore, a business sharing session was organised for our vegetable and fruit business cluster. We invited a representative from the Vietnam Embassy in Singapore to shed light on contract farming and investment opportunities in the Thanh Hoa and Lam Dong provinces. These opportunities could potentially enhance the consistency in supply and quality of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits to Singapore.
Additionally, AVA continues to work with the industry to maintain food safety in Singapore. During the Food Industry Convention 2015, AVA provided a platform for the industry and SFVIEA members to learn more about food supply chain management, its vulnerabilities, and risks from subject experts.
AVA will continue to engage SFVIEA through other platforms such as dialogue sessions, cluster meetings and the Taskforce for Imported Fruit and Vegetable Inspection meetings. Just as how these platforms encourage exchange of information and feedback, I hope that SFVIEA’s Members’ Directory 2016/2017 will continue to serve as a useful resource for the industry to forge business links.