Damansara Jaya residents’ venture into vertical farming drums lauded

Rolling up their sleeves: (From left) National Unity Department director Ho Khek Hua, DJROA deputy president Ronald Ng Chee Kong, Department of Agriculture, urban agriculture division director Yunus Ismail and Yew examining the vertical farming barrel.

THE success of the DF FarmHouse in Kajang has led to the launch of another urban farming initiative, this time in the Damansara Jaya Residents’ and Owners’ Association (DJROA) Com-munity Centre.

According to DJROA president Datuk Yew Cheng Hoe, the initiative served as a platform to provide health and nutrition education and techniques on urban farming to the community.

Since its establishment, one of its major efforts includes ‘Community Farming Cultivates Unity’, an initiative driven by the Green Tech Sub-Committee for International Trade, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCIM), DF Groups as well as the neighbourhood’s Rukun Tetangga.

It works towards building a sustainable community equipped with health and nutrition knowledge and skills.

The urban farming initiative is in line with this goal as the association believes that it helps break down barriers to eating fruits and vegetables. In addition, those involved can reap direct benefits from the physical activity involved in gardening.

Yew said anyone who was interested in helping out with the farming could sign up.

It further provides a relationship-building activity for people from different cultural backgrounds to come together which in turn can foster community cohesion and enhanced levels of acceptance and belonging.

Present at the launch was ACCIM executive adviser Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong who praised the benefits of urban farming.

“As it uses hydroponic or fertigation technology, there is no need for tilling the ground or watering the vegetables.

“Thus, it eliminates the tedious work required in traditional farming,” said Soong.

“This technology only uses a 1hp water pump to recirculate the water coming out of the hydroponic or fertigation process.

“This also means great savings in water and electricity,” he added.

Soong also commended the opportunity that urban farming provided in getting the interest of senior citizens to learn a new skill.

“They can get a little exercise in the process while having a sense of doing something useful,” he said, joking that he had also found it beneficial at the age of 90.

Urban farming technology is easily available from the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) website and the equipment is affordable.

Yew said the overall cost for the DJROA setup was about RM2,000 for six vertical farming drums and the soil while Mardi provided the seedlings.

DJROA is hoping to expand its urban farm to 12 drums in two months time.

DF Pharmacy managing director Jeff Kong was also invited to help with the association’s setup and to answer queries from the crowd regarding the urban farming process.

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