Sunday, 30 November 2014

Farms in Singapore @ Kranji Countryside

Kranji Countryside is one of six farming clusters in Singapore, otherwise known as Agro-Parks. Spanning the Upper Kranji and Lim Chu Kang areas, Kranji Countryside is known as the last Kampung (malay for village) of mainland Singapore. This trip is part of an event which involved youth bringing seniors out to visit the farms.

Jurong Frog Farm

First stop is Jurong Frog Farm, located at Lim Chu Kang Lane 6. It specialises in growing Bull Frogs which are then sold for consumption. This farm is unique as the staff is predominantly made up of youths, and they frequently featured in local news. Jurong Frog Farm was previously located at Jurong before shifting to Lim Chu Kang in 1994.

As with most farms at Kranji Countryside, there are no big banners or glitzy signs to welcome visitors, just a small sign at the side of the road. In fact, our bus driver overshot and missed the farm! As we entered, the youth spirit is clearly evident with clear and colourful graffiti-like drawings.

Look at the colourful graffiti!

Jurong Frog farm actually offers several guided tours ranging from exploring frog breeding to general feed and touch tours. For my group, we went for the Fun with Frogology tour which allowed us to understand more about the bull frogs and experience feeding and holding them. It was quite surprising how quickly and aggressively the frogs jump for the food, and according to the guide these bull frogs can eat pretty much anything - yes! including their own kind!

Deep pond, 8m! Dive in if you dare!

Preparing the feed the frogs!

Here are the frog pens!

These frogs really love to cluster together. Anyway, some tour group members
 spotted dead frogs! Talk about cannibalism

When it was time for us to interact with the frogs, most people simply shy away from holding them. I don't know, there seem to be a natural human instinct to avoid touching slimy, slippery surfaces. So you might wonder, did I do it?

YES!!! And I must say that the frog was so slippery that I felt it will slide out of my hand at anytime. Luckily this one warms up quite quickly and was not too rowdy so it did not feel too bad. I somehow found it quite cute actually.

Froggy, say cheese for the camera!

On the indoor tour, we watched a short clip about the bull frogs and was invited to try a frog based desert. Before I reveal what it is, let me assure you that only 1 out of 3 participants dared to try this delicacy. The answer: Frog Fallopian Tubes!!!

The indoor tour is located in the Royal Frog Shop

Qian Hu Fish Farm

We actually planned to visit Hay Diaries during the tour, but because it was too crowded, we detoured to Qian Hu Fish Farm instead. This farm specialises in Ornamental Fish (ie. not for eating), so the marine life here is much more colourful and some even glow in the dark!

As with most farms, Qian Hu Fish Farm has a little cafe for visitors to rest and
have a bite
We did not take part in the guided tour here, so we explored on our own. Beside the drop-off area, there is a large shed housing tubs of Koi and other medium sized fishes. Anyway, Qian Hu Fish Farm is like 1 giant storehouse, so pretty much everything we can see are for sale. 

Further inside, there was another gallery with houses smaller fishes including the glow in the dark species and beta fishes. There are even information panels similar to those in SEA Aquarium that describes the characteristics of the fishes and how to take care of them. I had a real shock when I realised a pair of stingrays cost $2500! Some tour group members who bought fishes commented that the fish food there is overpriced although the fishes themselves are still reasonable.

Different types of seaweed for sale

Beta corner! Prices range from $2 to $35 as far as I can spot.

Information panels like this turn Qian Hu Fish Farm into a good free aquarium

The Qian Hu Fish Gallery is an enclosed area that features more exotic species including the once-popular Luohan Fish. According to local legend, the patterns on the Luohan Fish actually depicts the winning combination for the lottery game 4D.

Here, you can really find everything fish. There is a even a large outdoor warehouse with all kinds of fish tanks, filter systems and decorative objects. A store located just beside sells smaller items like fish food, automated food dispensers and smaller filter systems.

This place really has everything you need for a home aquarium!

This is one of few places where there is an entire corridor dedicated to fish feed

Kok Fah Technology Farm

Kok Fah Technology Farm is one of the largest and most advanced vegetable farms in Singapore. Spanning over 7 hectares, this facility is also home to the Weekend Market where locals can purchase the freshest greens straight from the farm itself.

A small corner called UPlants also sells plants, though I think a visitor can find
better deals from an actual plant retailer

This weekend market is the go to place for the freshest vegetables in Singapore

The guided tour here began with a video presentation about the farm's production process. While the actually growing is still done on soil, most technology is focused on the pre and post production processes. In particular, the Cold Chain system, which is basically packing in a big refrigerator can prolong shelf life and ensure better quality of product. I just wish the video did not use such a cocky tone.

The guide here was really knowledgeable and was able to answer most of our questions. He also shared about the farm's drip-irrigation system and the enclosed greenhouses, used to prevent pest entry and minimise damage to crops caused by bad weather. I was really surprised that the growth cycle here is measured not in months, but in weeks. In fact, Spinach can be harvested after just 35 days!

Peppers anyone?

I cannot believe that a drip irrigation system (supposedly very cheem) is controlled
by a simple hand lever!

If I didn't tell you, you probably think this came from a squatter in India
Here is where the farmers store their equipment

Greenhouses like these keep pests out and protects crops from the weather

This is a Marrow. Sounds like some Pokemon move or something

At Kok Fah Technology, it is harvest day every day!

In addition to the vegetables, Kok Fah Technology Farm also focuses on Aloe Vera based products. We actually got to witness a demonstration of how to properly cut the aloe vera, and learned about some useful properties of this plant. For example, it is able to heal mosquito bites. Wow!

Aloe Vera cutting demonstration.


The Farms located at the Kranji Countryside/Lim Chu Kang area is a good escape from the concrete jungle of the mainstream Singapore. The people here are friendly and many staff members are really passionate about what they are doing. Unfortunately, the Singapore Armed Forces will take back the land in a couple of years time. While it is revealed that the new farming sites allocated will be smaller, I hope this will give the farms more opportunity to develop more high-technology and intensive farming methods. If you like outdoor experiences like this one, please do check out Singapore's new nature park - Coney Island!