Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market Will Close On 19 Aug, Upcoming BTO Makes Operations Unsuitable

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Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market Closure Will Have Minimal Impact On Local Food Supply Chain: SFA

For decades, Toa Payoh East has played host to a sight seldom seen in modern Singapore — an open-air market.

At night, the HDB estate road turns into a makeshift vegetable wholesale market where cheap greens can be bought.

Sadly, this slice of a bygone era will close for good on 19 Aug.

That’s because Build-To-Order (BTO) flats coming up will make the area unsuitable for its operations.

Higher traffic use expected on Toa Payoh East

The sad news regarding Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market was announced on Sunday (19 Feb) by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), as quoted by The Straits Times (ST).

They said that “upcoming housing developments” on Toa Payoh East would lead to higher traffic use on the road.

Thus, this would make the area “unsuitable” for the operations of the market, which they described as an informal — and rent-free — distribution site.

Kim Keat Ripples BTO now under construction

The upcoming housing development SFA referred to is BTO project Kim Keat Ripples.

Source: HDB

According to maps from the HDB, the three residential blocks with 708 units will be bounded by Toa Payoh East and Kim Keat Avenue.

Source: HDB

It’s expected to be completed in early 2025. Construction on the flats has already begun right next to the vegetable market.

Vendors notified of closure on 13 Feb

The 10 vendors in Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market were notified that they had to close on 13 Feb, reported Lianhe Zaobao.

SFA is working with other government agencies to help them find suitable alternative sites so that they may continue their businesses.

One of them is the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre. Otherwise, they may also relocate to stalls in markets managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or single-operator markets, SFA said.

Moving to sheltered premises like these would be safer for customers and provide greater business sustainability, they added.

Minimal impact on local food supply chain: SFA

As for the local food supply chain, the impact will be minimal, SFA said.

That’s because the scale and operation of the Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market is “small and limited”, the agency added.

However, the loss to Toa Payoh and Singaporeans in general may be greater than just affecting the food supply chain.

Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market open since 1968

After all, Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market has been operating since 1968 — some 55 years ago, when the area wasn’t that developed yet.

While most Singaporeans slept, the 200m stretch of road came alive six days a week from 11pm to 5am.

Those in the know would flock to the market for its relatively cheaper prices.

A frequent shopper who runs a food stall told Zaobao that the vegetables there are about 20% cheaper compared with other markets, and some items are even 50% cheaper.

Now that it’s closing down, she may have to raise the prices of her food due to inflation as she can’t keep prices low if she can’t find cheap vegetables.

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