EXPLORE THE SITE
“When you face a challenge, tackle it head on.”
Egg farming has long been a part of Tan Chee Nam's life story. A quintessential veteran in the industry, Chee Nam first started his career as a hatchery manager in the 1970s, before bringing his experience and expertise to Chew's Agriculture in 1990.
More than just a masterful leader, Chee Nam is an innovator in his own right, having designed a 4-tier chicken house system that helped produce over 300,000 eggs a day. Under his steadfast leadership, Chew's Agriculture has weathered the many shifts and evolutions of the farming industry, while always keeping an eye to the future.
Industry veteran Tan Chee Nam shares from his vast trove of farming knowledge.
I'd say that there're two: humility and perseverance. Farming is a tricky business — at many times, our assumptions may be incorrect or inaccurate. I don't think poultry management is taught in our universities — and anyway, what they teach you in school isn't exactly what happens on the ground.
Thirty years ago, poultry management in Singapore was rather small scale. We didn't have much knowledge on various aspects of farming, ranging from nutrition to vaccines — if we did, we'd be able to be a lot more productive. For example, we didn't distinguish between feed for laying birds and feed for birds that were bred for their meat.
A lot of people assume that it's a sunset industry, but there's a lot of exciting changes that's cropping up in the industry, and you need to be able to adapt to succeed. Many foreigners seem to be unaware that we have farms in Singapore, because we're so urban.
-Laughs- I'm getting old, but I still have a 'never-say-die' attitude! When you face a challenge, tackle it head on. No technology can save you if you give up. I'm still learning to this day, and it's a privilege to be able to gain knowledge from so many different experts, professors and specialists in the industry.
"Farming's come a long way since I first started in the industry," Chee Nam shares. "Back in the day, a lot of my work had to do with managing the equipment and checking for any problems."
With the evolution of modern farming, Chee Nam's focus has shifted from hardware to 'heartware' and 'software'. As general manager of the company, he constantly has to keep tabs on data, and connect with staff members and managers to ensure the farm's smooth operation.
Chee Nam shares insights into the past, present and future of egg farming in Singapore.
In Chee Nam's perspective, the complexity of the farming industry could be a big draw to younger individuals looking to join and innovate the industry. Business owners need to work hand in hand with the government to inspire the next generation of Singapore's farmers.
Throughout this long career, Chee Nam has seen the uncertainty caused by numerous epidemics throughout the region. In his view, being able to stay informed on regional and worldwide affairs is crucial to being a successful farmer in Singapore, given our city's interconnected nature.
In Chee Nam's view, advancements in technology is key to growing our agriculture industry. Maximising productivity is essential, given Singapore's lack of land and natural resources.
Chew's Agriculture's fine produce can be found on RedMart, and at all major supermarkets.
From designer eggs to humane egg farming conditions for cage-free eggs, Chew’s Agriculture is pioneering egg farming with a human touch.
The farmers who help us eat better with fresh food.
Farming plays an essential role in Singapore's future. Discover how farmers, citizens and the government are coming together to write SG's Food Story.