Sunway builds 1st urban farming innovation hub


  • Corporate News
  • Saturday, 06 Jun 2020

Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway iLabs director Matt Van Leeuwen (pic) said, “FutureX Farm will focus on the delivery of four key objectives – Nourish, Educate, Empower and Innovate."

PETALING JAYA: Sunway will be venturing into agritech, as the group announced that it will build a 50,000-square-feet urban farming innovation hub, Sunway FutureX, in conjunction with World Environment Day.

Sunway FutureX, which will focus on food solutions and agritech, will be completed in the third quarter of 2020.

Led by Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), Sunway FutureX is the first of its kind in Malaysia, and will serve as a skill-building hub for urban farming professionals, tech companies, researchers and young talent to collaborate and create transformative solutions focusing on food and agritech.

Sunway FutureX, located in the heart of Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, will have three pillars: an indoor and outdoor smart farming area FutureX Farm, research and development centre FutureX Talent, as well as training and collaborative space FutureX Campus, which includes a cafe.

Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway iLabs director Matt Van Leeuwen (pic) said, “FutureX Farm will focus on the delivery of four key objectives – Nourish, Educate, Empower and Innovate.

“Bringing together a wide pool of expertise and resources from ecosystem players, Sunway FutureX will aim to create decentralised urban farms to serve local communities, and address supply chain challenges and distance between farm to fork.

“We hope to venture build new innovations, which will contribute to improved long-term food security and sustainability in our nation.”

Van Leeuwen added that FutureX’s first partners will be Sunway Property.

“We aim to nourish our communities with the fresh produce grown at our farms and educate them about sustainable living and urban farming. “We hope to sow the seeds of inspiration and ultimately empower home-owners to grow their own food.

“This will be a model for Sunway Property to replicate throughout their cities in Malaysia, and allows us to scale up quickly, ” he added.

According to reports, Malaysia imports most of its food from countries such as China, India, Thailand, Indonesia and New Zealand, and only has about 8% of agricultural land for agro-food production.

Malaysia’s food import bill has grown significantly over the last two decades and exceeded RM52bil in 2018.

In urban areas like the Klang Valley where land is limited and expensive, Sunway sees the potential of harvesting the power of talent and technology to build urban farms on under-utilised spaces such as rooftops, carparks and even within buildings.

Recent developments in technology have enabled efficient urban farming techniques that require less water and no pesticides to produce consistent yields, while revitalising under-utilised spaces.

Apart from that, Sunway iLabs will also partner with Thought For Food (TFF), a global non-profit organisation dedicated to entrepreneurial innovation for food and agriculture.Both Sunway iLabs and TFF will launch various programmes, including the TFF Digital Asean Lab to engage, empower and accelerate the next generation of purpose-driven food and agritech innovators.

“We see many exciting opportunities to collaborate with Sunway iLabs to provide a sandbox for startups from our global TFF innovation platform to carry out pilot projects and test out their solutions to fit the local market needs, ” said TFF CEO Christine Gould.

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