Singapore eyes Madera County produce

FRESNO, Calif.

Madera County Farm Bureau hosted a Singaporean trade summit on Tuesday to offer a glimpse of the county's export potential.

The call has gone out. Madera County beef producers were excited about the possibility of entering a new international market.

Boon Toh is the director of International Enterprise Singapore. He came to tell Madera farmers they could fill an important need.

Toh explained, "In the country of Singapore there's really not much space for farming so we do obviously import a lot of ag produce, fruits and vegetables from California. For example, you go the major supermarkets in Singapore you'll notice most of the strawberries are from Watsonville."

Agriculture rich Madera County certainly has plenty to offer. It rates among the state's top producers of almonds, grapes and cattle.

Madera County Farm Bureau president Tom Rogers said, "I think it's an opportunity to open up markets and anytime you increase demand there's an opportunity for increase profits."

The summit came after Toh happened to meet a Madera county official at a statewide economic development meeting. Local growers were excited about the possibilities because Singapore doesn't require duty tariffs on imports, "which makes it really appealing for our growers and producers because they don't have to hike up the price of their product to get an equal value in rate pay." That according to Farm Bureau executive director Anja Raudabaugh.

Toh said Singapore is very interested in several products grown in Madera County. "Tree nuts for example and the wineries, the wine. These are interesting a products for us. In Singapore the Chinese majority population so when it comes to Chinese New Year they always like to have tree nuts."

Madera County farmers were very encouraged by the trade summit. The next step calls for Singapore officials to set up visits to Valley farms.

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