"Never look down on farming as career"

Azizul Julirin matched his words when he built two pesticide-free vegetable farms in Kundasang, Malaysia – an aquaponics farm in 2016 and a hydroponic farm in 2019. 

The Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Bachelor of Science graduate was adamant to have his own business built from scratch instead of working for others. A choice for which he never looked back. His first project was a 5,000sq ft aquaponics farm adjacent to his homestay which he built a year earlier and had been frequently visited by many guests. 

His hydroponics farm a few kilometres away is the size of 20,000sq ft which he built three years later on land rented from his relatives.

Both farms were planted with coral green and purple lettuce vegetables as they are in high demand. His farm could produce about three tonnes of vegetables every month, he said. Increasingly popular for salad vegetables, Azizul, however, could not meet the request. 

It was, therefore, crucial for him to deliver his thought and knowledge, disseminating as much information as possible to get the young people to consider farming as a promising venture to meet the increasing demand regardless of the circumstances. 

According to Azizul, reading books to gain knowledge is one activity no one should underestimate. He also provides the opportunity to university and college interns to do their practical training which enabled them to gain much confidence in hands-on skills and learnt to be self-reliant.

“For Brunei, we export about one tonne of vegetables every month.  The price is stable and attractive, too,” he said, adding that he also supplies to local restaurants such as McDonald’s, supermarkets and other eateries.

His workers and interns seemed to enjoy their work while carrying out their tasks despite being confined inside the tent. When asked whether they ever get bored staying at the farm and not seeing any other things for their enjoyment, they said they were content with what they have. 

Apart from the vegetables, Azizul also encouraged his staff to experiment other types of plants such as rock-melon, apples and grapes chillies to name a few.

He admitted there is still a long way to go in order to assist his fellow residents in Kundasang as there is certainly so much to acquire, such as instilling the mindset of how important farming is to a nation as well as not to be ashamed of the work and so on. 

Read the complete article at www.dailyexpress.com.my.

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