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Toh Yong Chuan
Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014

Singapore

Pig farmers' 50-year link with S'pore

The Straits Times | Toh Yong Chuan | Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014

Mr Andrew Jones says pig farming is hard and honest work - with good profits. His grandfather Keith Jones started pig farming in 1940 and the family runs four farms near Clifton in Queensland.

The Jones family may live more than 6,000 km away in Australia but they know about Singaporean tastes.

"They like lean pork, so I send my best pigs to Singapore," said pig farmer Andrew Jones, 47.

The third-generation pig farmer runs four farms - about the combined size of Ang Mo Kio, Bishan and Toa Payoh - near Clifton, just under three hours' drive from Brisbane in Queensland.

His grandfather Keith Jones started pig farming in 1940 and the family business - CEFN - has been shipping pigs and pork to Singapore for over 50 years.

Australian pig farmers exported more than 10,000 tonnes of chilled and frozen pork to the Republic last year.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority told The Straits Times last week that demand for imported frozen and chilled pork has been more or less constant in the past three years, averaging about 80,000 tonnes a year.

Singapore also imports chilled pork from Canada and New Zealand, and frozen pork from Brazil, the Netherlands and the US.

Mr Jones said his family's connection with Singapore started in the 1960s, when they sent live breeding pigs by air to Singaporean pig farmer Alan Koh.

The shipments ground to a halt in the 1980s, when pig farming was phased out and Singapore started importing pork from neighbouring countries.

Imports from Australia restarted in 1999, when the Nipah virus hit Malaysia and Singapore.

"It opened a new market for us and we were grateful for it because pig farming in Australia went through a difficult period in the 1990s with droughts," said Mr Jones.

Today, he ships about a tenth of his produce to Singapore - his only overseas market.

He took The Straits Times on a rare tour of his piggeries last week.

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