The government announced in December 1974 that 620 ac (2.5 sq km) of land in Punggol would be allocated for intensive commercial pig farming. There were about 30 to 40 plots of land available, each spanning at least five ac (20,234 sq m) and requiring a capital of at least S$500,000. In light of the huge capital outlay required, smaller farmers were encouraged to pool their resources together to set up a farm, or to work for the bigger farms.
The plan to concentrate all pig-farming activities at Punggol was triggered by the development of the Kranji-Pandan Reservoir in 1971. It began as an experiment to relocate traditional pig farms to high-rise intensive pig-farm units at Punggol, which was located outside the water-catchment area and thus would not pose any pollution threats. Pig farming was found to be a serious source of pollution, as it produced one of the highest amounts of solid waste at high concentrations.
Before the resettlement of pig farms at Punggol, there were about 10,000 of such farms (with more than 715,000 pigs) located around the island, which were sufficient to meet domestic demands. By 1977, the performance of the resettled pig farmers at Punggol had exceeded expectations by half the time estimated to achieve the three-year target set for pig production. Although then Senior Minister of State (National Development) Tan Eng Liang assured the resettled farmers that they were likely to stay in business at Punggol for at least another 15 years, pollution became a cause for concern as the pig farms used up too much land and water.
In January 1984, when Goh Keng Swee took over the Primary Production Department (now known as the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority) from the Ministry of National Development, he concluded that pig farming caused massive pollution and required intensive use of land and water – scarce resources in Singapore – and that it was also expensive to treat pig wastes. He proposed importing live pigs and frozen pork to meet the local demand for pork. Since then, pig farming had been gradually phased out in Singapore, and came to an end in 1989 when 22 Punggol pig farms were informed to stop operations by end November that year.
1. 620 acres in Punggol for pig farming. (1974, December 7). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Tortajada, C., Joshi, Y. K., & Biswa, A. K. (2013). The Singapore water story: Sustainable development in an urban city-state (p. 142). New York, NY: Routledge. Call no.: SING 363.61095957 TOR.
3. Tortajada, Joshi & Biswa, 2013, p. 142.
4. Tortajada, Joshi & Biswa, 2013, p. 143.
5. Unique feat by resettled pig farmers. (1977, April 2). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Change after change after change. (1985, April 21). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. The Straits Times, 21 Apr 1985, p. 2.
8. Miller, D. (1989, November 30). 22 Punggol pig farms to stop operations by today. The Straits Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
The information in this article is valid as at 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.