Who We Are
Ensuring Food Supply ResilienceTo ensure a resilient supply of safe food for Singapore, AVA has in place strategies and programmes to maintain an adequate and stable supply of food, while mitigating food safety risks. AVA adopts a diversification strategy to facilitate a steady flow of a wide variety of safe food at stable prices into Singapore. While diversifying our overseas food supply, we also seek to enhance the productivity of local farms through R&D and capability development. Additionally, AVA continues to educate consumers on the use of liquid eggs, egg powder, and frozen meat as viable alternatives to shell eggs and chilled meat. To complement the efforts of local farms in increasing productivity, we also encourage consumers to choose local produce and support our farmers.
Keeping Food Safe for ConsumptionSingapore imports more than 90 percent of the food it consumes. To ensure all locally produced and imported food products are safe for consumption, AVA adopts a science-based risk analysis approach that is based on international standards. AVA sets and enforces food safety standards for all food entering the Singapore market, from production to just before retail. As food safety is a shared responsibility, AVA also engages the industry and public to do their part in keeping food safe for consumption.
To safeguard public health, AVA has in place high food safety standards, and robust monitoring and inspection programmes to ensure that these standards are maintained. We closely monitor each stage of the food production chain – from the conditions at farms, slaughterhouses, and food processing establishments (both local and overseas), to testing of food samples at the point of import or at local establishments. Only those that pass our stringent tests and inspections are permitted for sale and consumption.
Accreditation of Sources for Meat Processing Establishments
Ensuring Health & Welfare of AnimalsAVA has consistently and successfully kept the nation free from major exotic and zoonotic diseases, such as the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), rabies, Nipah virus infection, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), anthrax, and brucellosis. We continue to do so via comprehensive and integrated programmes that ensure both animals and humans in Singapore stay healthy and safe from such threats.
AVA safeguards the welfare of animals and prevents animal cruelty through regulation and education. In this role, AVA has to deal with a spectrum of attitudes towards animals, which range from people who find animals a nuisance to those who champion their welfare.
Doing all we can, as best as we could, is not enough to ensure total well-being for Singapore. Besides regulatory control, it is also important to raise Singaporeans’ awareness of their shared responsibility towards animal welfare. In championing animal welfare, AVA proactively works with the community and educates them on animal welfare and responsible pet ownership (RPO). Through our public education programme on RPO, we aim to foster a humane and gracious society for all, where pet owners, non-pet owners, and animals co-exist in greater harmony. Emphasis is also placed on reducing pet abandonment, which can add to the problem of stray animals.
Safeguarding Plant HealthAVA is committed to protecting our local flora from the negative impact of exotic and emerging indigenous plant pests and diseases. Through a robust science-based and internationally recognised plant health regulatory system, we aim to maintain plant biosecurity to protect the sustainability and diversity of our landscape. Our comprehensive plant health programme, comprising import regulation and inspection, risk analysis, as well as laboratory testing and surveillance, successfully kept Singapore free from important quarantine pests and diseases. These include the stored product pest Khapra beetle; Mediterranean and Queensland fruit flies; and the fungal disease of rubber, the South American leaf blight. Our efforts are supported by the close cooperation and partnership with local government agencies and plant industries.
Harnessing Technology to Optimise Singapore’s Limited Resources
In land scarce Singapore, our urban landscape leaves us with limited space for farming. With the aim to increase self-sufficiency in key food items, as well as to maintain our competitive edge in the global orchid and ornamental fish market, AVA harnesses life sciences and technology for intensive large-scale farming. Our technological developments are also shared with local farmers and overseas contract partners, to help them increase productivity and yield. In addition to working with farmers, AVA collaborates with institutes and manufacturers, to develop innovative and valueadded food products.
In 2013, our farms produced 12% of the leafy vegetables, 8% of the fish, and 26% of the eggs consumed in Singapore.
AVA developed six Agrotechnology Parks to promote agrotechnology in Singapore. These Parks are well-equipped with modern infrastructure and facilities. Comprising a total land area of about 1,465 hectares, these Parks are located at Lim Chu Kang, Murai, Sungei Tengah, Mandai, Nee Soon, and Loyang.
As at March 2012, about 700 hectares of land in the Agrotechnology Parks were allocated to 224 farms. Another 36 hectares of land outside the Parks were allocated to 25 farms. These included layer farms for egg production, freshwater fish farms, marine-fish farms, vegetable farms, goat and cattle farms, orchid and floriculture farms, and ornamental fish farms. In addition, there were 119 coastal fish farms occupying 93 hectares of sea space on Singapore’s coastal waters.
Technology Development And Transfer
Research And Development (R&D) is vital to our efforts to increase agricultural productivity, self-sufficiency, and competitiveness. To improve the quality of our produce and achieve higher yields and value, our R&D projects focus on breeding, nutrition, disease control, aquaculture and vegetable production systems, as well as post-harvest technology.
Facilitating Agri-Trade for Food, Plants and Ornamental Fishes
As Singapore’s representative on agricultural, fisheries, and veterinary matters, AVA continues to facilitate free trade and maintain close ties with the global community in a spirit of exchange and cooperation. Besides facilitating trade, AVA also regulates the import and export of endangered species.
Jurong and Senoko Fishery PortsAVA manages both the Jurong and Senoko Fishery Ports, both of which serve as wholesale and distribution centres for fresh and chilled seafood. The top five fish exporting countries to Singapore for FY 2011 were Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and China.
Foreign fishing vessels arriving in Singapore berth at the Jurong Fishery Port (JFP), which serves as a port of call for international fishing vessels and as a seafood distribution hub. During FY 2011, a total of 3,071 vessel calls were made at JFP. The 96 AVA-licensed fish merchants at JFP handled 63,074 tonnes of fish landed by fishing vessels, as well as imports via land and air. Of these, 1,977 tonnes were tuna imports meant for re-export.
Senoko Fishery Port (SFP) is the hub for local fishing vessels. During FY 2011, a total of 2,717 vessel calls were made at SFP while 21 AVA-licensed fish merchants handled 9,489 tonnes of fish from local fishing trawlers, sea-based, and land-based fish farms, as well as from imports.
AVA facilitates the export of food, plants, and their products, as well as ornamental fishes, animals, and animal products, by issuing internationally recognised certificates, and permits. In addition, we help further upgrade the export capabilities of our industries by engaging them in collaborations and dialogues.
AVA works closely with our stakeholders to facilitate agritrade. We engage and collaborate with our industries through Business Cluster activities and dialogue sessions.
Ornamental Fish Business ClusterInitiated by AVA in 2003, the Ornamental Fish Business Cluster (OFBC) has been instrumental in addressing the challenges and charting new directions for the industry, as well as in raising the international profile of Singapore’s ornamental fish industry. With key representation from industry associations, exporters, breeders and associated companies, the OFBC will continue to reinforce Singapore’s position as an Ornamental Fish Hub.
AVA conducted a dialogue session with Singapore Aquarium Fishes Exporters’ Association (SAFEA) on 27 October 2011, with participation from the Singapore Tropical Aquarium Fish Breeders’ Association (STAFBA). During the dialogue, AVA reiterated its commitment to work closely with the industry through both associations and OFBC to explore new areas of cooperation to improve processes. The industry was also urged to enhance its productivity to remain resilient and competitive.
AVA also engaged industry players outside of the OFBC. Four dialogue sessions with SAFEA, and licensed ornamental fish importers and exporters, were conducted between April 2011 and March 2012 to address regulation and trade issues.
Orchid Business ClusterWith representatives from the various key floral associations and the IE Singapore, the Orchid Business Cluster (OBC) was established in May 2003 to strengthen Singapore’s position as a renowned exporter of tropical orchids and help the industry remain relevant and adaptable. During the year, the OBC held fruitful dialogues, and participated in overseas visits and exhibitions to seek trade opportunities and increase international exposure.
Trade In Endangered SpeciesAVA is the national authority for the implementation and enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreement, which aims to prevent over-exploitation of endangered animals and plants.
In FY 2011, AVA issued a total of 10,680 CITES permits and certificates to regulate wildlife trade, which comprised mainly of reptile skins, Asian arowanas, and pet birds. AVA also facilitated the commercial re-export of wildlife not categorised under CITES, through the issuance of 444 ‘B’ certificates/ statements. In March 2012, AVA implemented a watermark system for CITES permits and certificates, as a security measure to prevent fraudulent use of CITES documents.
During the FY, AVA investigated a total of 42 cases, which included illegal import and sale of alleged tiger products, chameleon, Asian arowanas, and Hoodia products. In one of these cases, a man was prosecuted in court and fined $5,200 for keeping and attempting to sell hedgehogs as pets on the Internet. Twenty-four cases were issued with composition fines, and 17 cases were issued with warnings or advisories.
Marine Fisheries Research Department (MFRD) Programme / Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC)AVA, as a collaborating centre of SEAFDEC, promotes the post-harvest technology development of fisheries in Southeast Asia, by implementing activities under the SEAFDEC’s MFRD programme. These activities include the transfer of postharvest technology and best practices to the fish processing industry in the region.
Engaging & Educating the Public & Industry
Public Education Programme on Responsible Pet OwnershipBesides regulatory control, it is also important to raise Singaporeans’ awareness of their shared responsibility towards animal welfare. In championing animal welfare, AVA proactively works with the community and educates them on animal welfare and responsible pet ownership (RPO). Through our public education programme on RPO, we aim to foster a humane and gracious society for all, where pet owners, non-pet owners, and animals co-exist in greater harmony. Emphasis is also placed on reducing pet abandonment, which can add to the problem of stray animals.
Food Safety Public EducationTo ensure food safety from farm to fork, all parties in the food chain from government to food industries to consumers must play a role. While food industries and the government continue to work together to ensure food sold in Singapore is safe for consumption, it is also important to ensure consumers are equipped with good food safety knowledge so that food is safe at the point of consumption.
Through the Food Safety Awards Night and public education programmes, AVA emphasises the importance of the industry’s and consumers’ roles in ensuring food safety.