Sustainability is always in fashion. Just look at Stella McCartney. Since the launch of her fashion house, this pioneer of eco-friendly fashion has used sustainable fabrics, including ethically sourced wool, organic cotton and recycled materials to make a name for herself while helping to create a better world. And it worked.
The designer is now a household name with an estimated net worth of US$75 million. Turns out making the world a better place and standing for something is rewarded. And that same basic principle can be just as easily applied to something as seemingly unrelated as egg farming – at least in the right hands.
Chew’s Agriculture Director Edvin Lim has those capable hands. A staunch supporter of environmentally friendly farming methods, he took over the management of Chew’s Agriculture, a humble chicken farm established in 1987, with one intention: transformation. “Even though 2020 was challenging for most, we managed to set up a brand-new, high-tech farm in Singapore,” he says.
“And the relocation to the new farm was a success despite some of the delay around completion due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our new farm is now up and running, and has become one of the largest and most modern layer farms in all of Singapore.”
Even more, Chew’s Agriculture has also become something of a luxury label, selling the ‘Stella McCartney’ of one of the world’s most popular breakfast foods. “We are the pioneer of designer eggs in Singapore,” Edvin says.
Get the right people and put them in the right position.
“Chew’s Agriculture has successfully developed a series of designer-egg products such as cage-free eggs, cordycepin eggs, organic selenium eggs, sakura eggs, and omega-3 and omega-6 eggs. Our branding and diversification are what set us apart from our competitors.”
These varieties are made possible by the feed the chickens are given. The feed nutrients are transmitted to the egg yolk via the hen. So not only are the chickens healthier, but so are their eggs. The company believes these eggs speak to the modern consumer who is becoming increasingly more health- and eco-conscious.
“Our business is very much demand driven. We have to be alert to the market situation and react promptly,” Edvin says. With its sustainable, humane practices, Chew’s Agriculture is also the only poultry farm in Singapore today to receive Certified Humane certification from the US non-profit organisation Humane Farm Animal Care.
“This award means that we have adhered to the stringent criteria of taking good, humane care of our chickens with an antibiotic-free diet, proper resting area and considerable space for them to spread their wings and express their natural behaviour,” Edvin says.
Currently, the designer chicken farm uses the latest technology, which requires minimal human intervention; think climate-controlled chicken houses that are programmed to automatically deliver water and feed to the hens.
Even egg collection and sorting are completely automated. For the future, Edvin plans to introduce even more automation and technological innovation, as he believes this will continue to help shape sustainable farming practices in Singapore. “We are committed to doing our part to strengthen Singapore’s food security and incorporating more sustainable processes,” he says.
“Chew’s Agriculture is the only farm here that uses cage-free systems, and we are also collaborating with a third party to convert chicken manure into electricity to power the entire farm. Staying at the forefront of innovation allows us to maintain our competitive edge.”
In 2019, Chew’s Agriculture produced 500,000 eggs per day. In the next year, Edvin hopes to double that. It’s a goal that couldn’t be achieved without the company’s passionate employees. “It’s vital to get the right people and put them in the right position,” he says.
“Our workers spend at least one-third of their day at the workplace. Therefore, it is important to instil a good culture, so they treat the company as their second home as we treat them like family members. Mutual respect is the key to a happy family.”
These values also extend to Chew’s Agriculture’s strategic business partnerships. “Long-term collaboration with our suppliers is essential,” Edvin insists. “As such, we always demonstrate honesty and integrity and try to achieve a win–win situation with our business partners. This is a must in order to achieve a shared vision.”
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