SINGAPORE: Singapore has begun importing frozen shrimp from Saudi Arabia, a move that will lay the groundwork for greater food imports and exports between the two countries, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Singh said on Wednesday (November 25th).
“Before this, I think very few of us would think about importing shrimp from Saudi Arabia. “It’s not something that comes to mind,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of a visit to the Fairprice Xtra supermarket in Vivo City.
“But now that we know this can be done, and it can be done in a very competitive way, then we can explore with the Saudi embassy and Saudi suppliers what other products (they) can offer.”
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In return, these suppliers saw products from Singapore and the region that they could return to Saudi Arabia, using containers worth the ships they bring in, Mr Chan said.
The addition of Saudi Arabia to Singapore’s list of food sources comes as part of the island’s ongoing pressure to diversify its food source.
“(Having multiple sources) will give us many more options to align when and where unforeseen situations occur in different parts of the supply chain,” Mr Chan said, calling supply management “a bit of an art and a science”. .
Asked if the carbon footprint of such imports was a consideration, he said: “For the average Singaporean, I think the most important thing is price and quality.
“And as we explore new supply lines, what is amazing is that we have been able to bring you products at about the same price.”
He added that long-distance transport is considered a price, so “if the market signals that prices are still competitive, it means that they have taken care of all these things.”
Mr Chan also said that the carbon footprint was not just a matter of distance and that the logistics system needed to be “looked at in its entirety to see how economies of scale can be achieved, carbon footprint should be kept to a minimum and bring prices to the lowest. “
The Saudi brand Red Sea Shrimp is currently only available in NTUC FairPrice supermarkets.
However, its distributor, Seafood, hopes to eventually expand sales to other chains.
The company says the shrimp have better taste and texture because they are grown on a farm in the Red Sea, which has more salinity than seawater from other parts of the world.
Calling the import a “success”, the company’s managing director Kenneth Chia said the company had brought 60 tonnes of shrimp since the brand’s launch in Singapore three months ago.
Shipments worth 120 tonnes are on track by the end of the year, he added.