Currently serving as an account manager in the Industry Development and Community Partnership Division at the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Charles Tan actively contributes to the national agency’s “30 by 30” goal of building a more resilient and sustainable food supply chain for Singapore by 2030. Uncover the journey of the Singapore Sustainability Scholar and how he found his way to a gratifying career.
Turning Passion into a Career
I applied for the Singapore Sustainability Scholarship with SFA as it provides me with a meaningful opportunity to network with like-minded individuals during my school years and embark on a public service career in the fascinating food and manufacturing industry.
It has since been a fulfilling 14-month journey. My most memorable experience was entering a hen house for the first time and being surrounded by thousands of chickens running around and pecking at my boots! A few years back, I would never have thought I would be involved in such activities so far removed from our daily lives.
Shaping Singapore’s Food Industry
I started as an Account Manager for vegetable farms and eventually branched out to farms dealing with livestock. My responsibilities encompass account management of alternative proteins and agri-food companies in Singapore, facilitating partnerships between industry players, and conducting research and analysis on local and global trends to drive capability development within the industry. My role also extends to engaging with local food businesses and promoting international investments into Singapore’s agricultural sector.
I have since contributed to the sustainable growth of a small farm and successfully managed several farm relocations and closures. I am also proud to have helped farms expand their customer network by connecting them with offtakers through initiatives such as organising industry engagement events.
Rising Through Challenges
There is never a dull day at work as no two businesses are the same. I must constantly think on my feet and ensure that I am always up to date with the latest industry developments, legislation changes, market environment, etc. I am required to apply this information appropriately in my day-to-day work to ensure that the companies we engage with develop confidence in our actions and words.
I never anticipated the significant impact I could have on small businesses. What truly thrilled me was witnessing how providing the right support enabled these businesses to experience remarkable growth.
Final Food for Thought
In the next five years, I continue to see myself in an industry/business development or investment promotion related role, as these are areas that I am interested in. With the rich set of skills and experiences the organisation provides on the job, SFA is the perfect platform for me to develop myself and grow my network.
What I love about SFA is its work culture, which straddles both pro-enterprise values and a stringent framework enforcing high regulatory standards. There are also constant reviews conducted within the agency, allowing us to learn from our mistakes and improve our processes.
Aspiring scholars should join SFA if they are keen to be the future of agriculture and stewards of food safety. SFA provides a unique experience by taking you through a journey that strives to ensure positive government intervention within a laissez-faire economy.
SFA Singapore Sustainability Scholarship
Bachelor of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore
Now: Account Manager, Singapore Food Agency