This story was first published in Trading Stories: Conversations with Six Pioneering Tradesmen at National Museum of Singapore that was exhibited from 15 March till 23 June 2013.
Ho Seng Choon - Poultry Farmer
He foresaw the importance of farming in the 1950s and when farmers were still reliant on traditional methods of farming, he pushed to modernise farming. Mr Ho is an industry pioneer and an industry leader. Through his long career as a farmer, he has championed the cause of farmers and worked to share his knowledge and experience with the farming community.
The modernity of Singapore today may have led us to forget that farming was once a major economic activity in rural areas such as Choa Chu Kang, Seletar, Jurong and Punggol. In the late 1950s, local farms were able to meet the needs of the island’s population of 1.6 million people, despite poor soil conditions and traditional farming methods. By the late 1960s, Singapore had 20,000 farms occupying 14,000 hectares.
89-year-old Mr. Ho Seng Choon is a pioneer in Singapore’s poultry sector. Born in Fujian Province in China, Ho moved to Singapore in 1929 where his father ran a provision shop in Chinatown. After World War 2, Ho saw potential in poultry farming and travelled abroad to learn the latest methods in livestock breeding and production.
Through continuous innovation, Seng Choon overcame constraints in land, and raised productivity in poultry farming. Today, the sole proprietorship has grown into a conglomerate with farms in Singapore and Johor and retail lines for battery systems and feed mills, husbandry consultancy and education. Ho’s youngest son has taken over the reins of the business while he enjoys retirement.