What exactly do you do at work?
Senior Executive Manager, Plant Section, Agri Establishment Regulation Group, AVA: As part of AVA’s surveillance and inspection programme for vegetable farms in Singapore, my teammates and I inspect these farms to ensure compliance with farm licensing conditions, as well as food safety and plant health requirements. Samples are also collected for laboratory testing, to ensure these vegetables are safe for consumption and keep pest infection at bay. At the same time, we track important farm data such as productivity figures andpesticide usage.
Apart from that, I also work with stakeholders to advise and educate the public and pet owners on measures to handle or mitigate nuisance caused by animals. In addition, we partner animal welfare groups and grassroots leaders in addressing issues caused by stray dogs. By engaging and working with stakeholders to achieve common goals, we foster better understanding and rapport.
Tell us about a memorable project you worked on.
In 2016, there was a Diamondback Moth (DBM) outbreak in several local vegetable farms. Despite our heavy workload, my team took on the additional role to assist the affected farmers. We deployed DBM pheromone traps to these farmers, and collected the traps on a weekly basis to monitor the effectiveness of the traps. Our hard work paid off. The traps developed by AVA worked well and the pest problems were substantially alleviated.
In addition, I was in a taskforce that worked closely with a local farm to resolve its pest problem. The taskforce helped to monitor and facilitate the farm’s pesticide regime via the rotational use of pesticides. Vegetables were also sampled and tested during production to ensure pesticide residue levels were within safe limits. It was an invaluable experience for me to work alongside the farmer and AVA’s senior officers in the taskforce.
Jing Ren and then Senior Minister of State for National Department Dr Koh Poh Koon (right) during a farm visit to engage with local farmers and better understand their concerns.
In what ways do you work with other AVA Groups, public agencies, and AVA’s customers?
We conduct joint-investigations with other public agencies including the Singapore Land Authority, Ministry of Manpower, and National Environment Agency on various farm issues. For example, we work together to ensure that farms do not use their premises for illegal purposes such as earthworks or workers’ quarters. We also look out for any potential surface run-off discharge that may enter our public drains.
Jing Ren inspecting an indoor vegetable farm.
Share some less known facts about your job.
When I tell people that AVA inspects vegetable farms, most automatically assume that I am referring to the traditional outdoor farms. What many do not know is that we are beginning to see more hi-tech indoor farms in Singapore, and that we conduct inspection and sampling at these farms too!
What do you find enjoyable or satisfying about your work?
My work is satisfying because we are helping to ensure that our locally produced vegetables are safe for consumption. I also derive job satisfaction in the way my role contributes to food supply resilience in Singapore. Our assistance and expertise helps farmers to control plant pests, which can adversely impact farm productivity
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Last updated on Tuesday, April 14, 2020