FairPrice to set aside $2.9m to support local suppliers, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

FairPrice to set aside $2.9m to support local suppliers

The FairPrice Group will set aside $2.9 million over the coming year to support its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) suppliers as part of efforts to champion local businesses.

The announcement was made at the launch of the 12th Made in Singapore Fair, which is held at the FairPrice Xtra hypermarket at VivoCity. It will run until Nov 8 at all FairPrice supermarkets and FairPrice Online.

The annual fair is a platform for local farmers and producers to showcase their products.

The move by FairPrice is part of the supermarket operator’s SME Suppliers Support and Development Programme, which aims to help these SMEs cope with rising costs.

Businesses in the programme benefit from measures such as modified payment terms to ease cash flow, marketing support to promote their products, and subsidised sales reporting and analytics services.

Introduced in 2012, the programme now benefits more than 500 SMEs in Singapore.

Companies must meet certain criteria to participate in the programme such as having an annual turnover of $8 million or less with FairPrice Group.

To date, FairPrice Group has invested more than $18 million to help its SME partners.

Established in 2019, the FairPrice Group is a social enterprise under the NTUC Enterprise Co-operative, comprising NTUC FairPrice, NTUC Foodfare, Kopitiam and NTUC Link.

“We believe that the local farmers we work with are the key to building Singapore’s sustainable food future,” said FairPrice Group retail business chief executive Elaine Heng.

Supporting the Republic’s 30 by 30 vision – the strategy to have the country meet 30 per cent of its nutritional needs through local produce by 2030 – is a “big part” of FairPrice’s daily operations, she added, noting that it carries more than 6,000 local products in its stores.

Mr David Chua – the commercial manager of Unifood International, which produces soya products – said at the fair on Thursday that the money the company had saved by being in the SME Suppliers Support and Development Programme allowed it to reinvest in areas such as marketing.

FairPrice Group said on Thursday that sales of local fresh produce at its supermarkets had grown by 33 per cent between 2019 and 2022, with locally produced eggs accounting for more than half the growth.

“Besides eggs, locally farmed seafood and vegetables, including pomfret, sea bass, bean sprouts and kale, were found to be popular with customers,” the group said.

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Koh Poh Koon, who attended the event, noted that an increase in energy prices and rising interest rates have raised the farms’ business costs.

He said that the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has been providing co-funding to farms, allowing them to adopt new technologies to grow more produce in a “climate-resilient and resource efficient way”.

He singled out Green Harvest, which used SFA funding to invest in a mobile gulley system, which recirculates water and allows the farm to use less water than is used by traditional farming methods.

The farm expects to produce up to 1,500 tonnes of leafy vegetables per year in its 2ha greenhouse in Kranji – five times what traditional farming methods would be able to produce in an area that size.

Consumers also have a role to play in supporting local farms, Dr Koh added.

“Whenever we choose to buy local produce, we do not only get fresher, safer and greener food, but our choices go in a much longer way in keeping our farms commercially viable.”

This gives these farms the impetus to support Singapore’s food resilience, he said.  

This year’s Made in Singapore Fair features products such as fresh vegetables, domestically farmed fish and eggs, ice cream and soya sauce from local suppliers.