We’d been to Qian Hu Fish Farm a few years back but decided it had been long enough a break to pay the farm another visit. Besides, we thought, with a guide, we’d probably learn some new things.
Let’s Go Tour’s Sustainable Farming Tour didn’t disappoint, turning out to be not so much about the fish, as it was about the wider issue of food security and sustainable farming.
Ably led by our energetic and animated guide, Jan, adult and children participants alike were given a primer on the issue of food security in Singapore, illustrated by a real live example of the type of transformation required to move Singapore towards its “30-by-30” target – 30% of our food produced locally by 2030.
Qian Hu Fish Farm: Countryside Classroom
The morning began with a quick outdoor classroom session set in the rustic Sungei Tengah countryside. Quizzed about our knowledge of Singapore’s farming landscape, the kids, especially quickly warmed up. How many veggie farms are there in Singapore? How many fish farms? How many egg farms? What percentage of our food is produced locally? How much food is wasted annually? The answers might surprise you! Using photos and graphics, Jan gave us a brief tour through the history of farming in Singapore.
With the context set, it was time to explore! Temporarily eschewing the eye-catching tanks of ornamental fish that Qian Hu is best known for, Jan led us to parts of Qian Hu that are usually off limits to the public to see the operations of a side of Qian Hu’s business that is less visible but no less important – the farming of edible fish and prawns.
Triapsing through Qian Hu’s warehouse area to get to large ponds of prawns and fish, Jan, who turned out to be an urban farming student on the side, explained what was going on in each, pointing out not only the fauna, but also relevant flora on the farm.
Do you know you what this plant is and why farmers plant it in the corner of each fish pond?
Gamely answering the kids’ excited questions, Jan provided a living science lesson as we enjoyed a leisurely wander in peaceful environs of the farm. The bird enthusiasts among us even spotted an silent egret watching us from his perch!
Next up was a short water break, where busy little hands and minds were kept occupied with a team game used to illustrate the concepts of overfishing and sustainable fishing.
Then it was on to see the modern prawning ponds. Although plainly visible from the main visitor area, we’d never have known the significance of what was going on in these ponds without an explanation.
Jan showed us how these smaller but deeper ponds, equipped with the technology for remote monitoring not only increased yield 6 times over the traditional prawning ponds we’d seen earlier that morning, but also allowed for the practice of aquaponics to further increase the productivity of the farm.
It was a graphic example of the evolution that our local farms will have to undergo in the near future as we strive towards greater food security as a nation.
Colourful Critter and Fun Facts
Although the tour was focused on commercial fish farming, it didn’t completely bypass the colourful rows of ornamental fish on display at Qian Hu. Flagging out species like the exotic albino terrapins, silvery white alligator gars and googly-eyed gold fish, Jan highlighted fun facts about each to the kids, while the adult participants gaped at the price tags attached to them!
The kids even had a quick practical lesson around a table of marble gobies awaiting collection, on how the fish on their dinner plate is priced by weight!
Let’s Go Tour’s Sustainable Farming Tour
In all, it was a thoroughly educational two hours.
The end of the formal tour left plenty of time before lunch for self-exploration of the bits of Qian Hu opened to the public, as well as the inevitable purchase of some new inhabitants for our home tank!
This story is part of a series of tours in collaboration with Let’s Go Tour Singapore. Check out more tours offered by Let’s Go Tour Singapore here. When you make a booking for this Sustainability in Fish Farming and Aqua Culture Tour and any other tour on Let’s Go Tour Singapore’s website, don’t forget to quote “LDO” in the Special Concerns field on the booking form or let them know you first heard it from Little Day Out. Your booking will help us earn a small fee. There is no additional cost to you and goes towards supporting Little Day Out’s efforts to deliver the best news and reporting for families.