Villas at this farm resort

LIM Chu Kang looks all set for a change if the Singapore Land Authority’s plans work out for its first “agri-tainment” resort.

Developers of the farm resort hope to offer visitors a more unconventional experience when it opens its doors this August. Visitors will be able to find out how crops such as corn and coffee are grown and may even get to harvest their own vegetables.

In addition, the 5-hectare site – the equivalent of six football fields – will have 21 villas and a nearby spa, which each villa commanding up to $200 a night.

HLH Agri International is paying $880,000 for a 20-year lease, which it admits is “cheap”. It plans to sub-lease 21 plots to entrepreneurs and charge 10 per cent of their total earnings in management fees.

Dr Tan Siang Hee, chief executive officer of HLH Agri International, said: “We’re going to create the opportunity for people to have a storefront. They can be planting somewhere else and bringing in the product. Or, in another sense, they could be planting within the 700 square metres that we give them as a demonstration port.”

Each operator will be given a two-year permit that will be renewable subject to his or her overall performance. They will also have to submit a business plan specifying the crop type they will be planting.

Nearby farm owners said they did not feel threatened by the new venture and expect it to help renew interest in the industry.

Developers are aiming to draw 500,000 local and foreign visitors a year, with plans to increase that number to 650,000 by 2012.

Source : Today – 9 Apr 2008

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