To prevent Nic from saying that I am biased again, I thought it’s only fair for me to mention that the farmers who were previously hit by the dye from Tengah Air Base have received an undisclosed amount of compensation from Mindef.

The sum that was given out to them ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 – which apparently covers 80% of their loss. Apparently car owners who were affected were also compensated for any additional work that they had to do to get their cars cleaned.

Relatively good PR, agree? Or are there things that I don’t know?

SIX farmers received cash payouts last week after their crops, tainted by red dye 17 days ago from an F-16C jet at Tengah Air Base, had to be destroyed.

The farmers at the Lorong Semangka area in Sungei Tengah whom The Straits Times interviewed said they were ‘satisfied’ with the compensation.

According to Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, the amounts compensated ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 per farmer.

However, the farmers The Straits Times interviewed said they received about $25,000. The amount, they said, covered 80 per cent of their losses.

They explained that the amount compensated depended on factors such as the size of the plot and the types of produce.

One farmer said that the total losses incurred by all six vegetable farms were about $200,000.

The Defence Ministry declined to reveal the amount paid out.

The Straits Times understands that the compensation was based on the market value and weight of the vegetables destroyed.

Said farmer Tan Bock Tat, 40, who lost 1.3ha of crops: ‘We think this amount is enough. It is not in our place to say what is enough and what isn’t. Getting some compensation is good enough.’

The six vegetable farms were told to destroy 200 tonnes – about 10 lorry loads – of leafy vegetables after the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority found that the dye was not approved for use in food.

All the tainted vegetables were destroyed by last Tuesday. The farmers have since started to sow new seedlings.

Said Mr Wong Kok Fah, 45, a farmer with 30 years of experience: ‘At first, I was worried I had to wait a long time for the compensation. I was surprised it was so quick. I am just glad it is over now.’

It took 17 family members and farm hands four days to destroy the affected crops on his farm.

They started sowing new seeds last Wednesday, the day Mindef officers showed up at their farm with the compensation. Replanting takes a full week.

The compensation, he said, is being used to buy new seeds, cover operational costs and to tide over the month when there will be no income.

Vegetable prices are not expected to be affected as the produce destroyed comprised less than 1 per cent of Singapore’s vegetable consumption.

Apart from farms, some homes and cars were also affected.

Mindef said that since the incident, it had received 89 calls on its 24-

hour toll-free number (1800-760-8844). This provides callers with advice on how to get rid of the dye stains.

The ministry encourages those affected to ‘send in receipts and claims’ because ‘all reasonable claims rising from this incident will be considered’.

Said Mr Jason Sia, 29, unemployed, who contacted the Defence Ministry to remove the stubborn dye stains on his car: ‘Considering my car is all right, it is okay. Just that the hassle of going through the whole process was a bit troublesome. But it is good I finally got my car re-polished, paid by Mindef.’

Article obtained from on 10th December 2007

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