By Jonathan Choo
Despite zero experience in oyster farming, this plucky woman ploughed $500,000 into a derelict oyster farm and successfully persuaded restaurants here to buy local molluscs.
She had no prior experience in aquaculture.
But that didn't stop her from venturing into unchartered waters and investing half a million dollars to rebuild a derelict oyster farm which had gone bust.
|Businesswoman invests $500k in oyster farm
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That was three years ago.
Today, Madam Fanny Su, 50, juggles her full-time job as a manager for an international organisation and being a part-time farmer on her oyster farm, Hai Loong Mariculture, located off Pulau Ubin, near Chek Jawa.
Her venture into oyster cultivation began when she was looking to do more with her love for the outdoors.
She initially considered fish farming.
In 2009, she started scouting for a fish farm to buy and discovered there was an oyster farm which had gone out of business about a year ago.
Doing her sums, Madam Su found that oyster farming could be more cost effective, she says.
So she paid the farm's previous owners $50,000. Says Madam Su with a laugh: "It came with a small motorboat and a cat."
The oyster farm was in very bad shape, almost half sinking when she got it.
It took four months to rebuild and she engaged contractors and sought help from the local fishing community.
The structure of the farm, which used to span 2,000 sq m, now covers an area of 4,000 sq m.
The total cost of the repair and renovation works? A cool $500,000.
It was a risk from the beginning as oysters take at least a year to mature and there was no guarantee of a market for locally-cultivated ones.
Having no prior experience, Madam Su ramped up her game by attending overseas trade shows and oyster farming courses in the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia to learn the ropes of the trade.
The farm now cultivates Pacific oysters from spats (baby oysters) delivered from Australia and Chile every four months.