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AVA – Food – The Challenge ­Behind The Pleasure

ava_jeremyJeremy Yap explains why great minds are needed to manage Singapore’s food ­supplies.
Food has always been a passion of mine and having a great meal is admittedly one of the greatest pleasures in life to me. I thought that being able to make a difference in an area which I’m passionate about would be a great idea. Since one of the main goals of AVA is to safeguard the quality and variety of the food we bring into Singapore, it seems be an appropriate field for me to venture into.

AVA is tasked to tackle a very pertinent issue in the world today – the issue of food security. One of the world’s most intriguing issues is figuring out how to provide for the ever-growing population with the limited resources available. Other than studying how to increase supply, we are also looking at it from an economic point of view – the idea of balancing supply and demand.

Resource-scarce countries have been struggling with over-reliance on food imports for decades. To diversify Singapore’s food supply, AVA liaises with countries all over the world and this makes work here a global, dynamic and multifaceted one.

Getting Selected
To be frank, my academic results were not among the best throughout my secondary school and junior college years and I was doubtful of even obtaining a scholarship. Nevertheless, I did relatively well for my ‘A’ levels and I was awarded with this scholarship. Apart from grades, I believe AVA was also looking for people with talents in other areas such as leadership quality, communication skills, and positive attitude.

The scholarship gave me the opportunity to study at any reputable school overseas, in a field of my choice, which is Economics. In addition, AVA scholarship officers had been helpful at every step of the way from the college application process to my time in UCLA. They have done a great job in liaising with the UCLA office and settling administrative matters to ensure my smooth transition into UCLA.

As an organisation, AVA’s leaders and staff were extremely encouraging and friendly. They aimed to provide a nurturing environment for scholars so that we could realise our full potential. In the university, we received emails regarding AVA’s achievements, events and future directions. This kept us connected, helped us understand AVA better and prepared us to contribute towards AVA’s vision and mission.

After completing my first year of studies, I had the amazing opportunity to work as an intern in AVA’s Planning and Organisational Excellence Group. It gave me insights to the inner workings of AVA and got me more interested about what this organisation was all about. During my two-month stint, I was exposed to AVA’s policy making process. I was tasked to help with process reviews, data analysis and presenting reports on areas of AVA’s work, such as improving one of AVA’s licensing processes. What appealed even more to me was the opportunity to assist in gathering information on and sharing my learning about the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which Singapore became a member of in mid 2013, thus giving Singapore a stronger voice in the international dialogue on food security. My internship experience was definitely one of my most productive summers and I got to make many friends under the positive and vibrant working environment that AVA offers.

Securing Singapore’s food supply and ensuring it is safe for consumption is no easy task. A multi-disciplinary team of officers is needed to carry out the myriad of functions in AVA. Keeping food prices affordable for Singaporeans, maintaining a high standard of food that we produce/import and providing Singaporeans with the luxury of choice is a juggling act for a group of driven and talented individuals. Hence, if you are clear about your career objectives, I urge you to join AVA in this challenging and yet fulfilling task.

Jeremy Yap Jun Sean
AVA Scholarship
Age: 22
Now: Doing Economics at
University of California,
Los Angeles, USA
From: Hwa Chong Institution