WITH many countries imposing travel restrictions to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysian flower lovers need not travel overseas as they only have to travel up north to Perlis to see rows and rows of beautiful sunflowers.
The field, the latest addition to the Snake and Reptile Farm in Perlis, is framed by a panoramic view of the Nakawan Range which is the longest continuous limestone hill in the country. It is indeed a sight to behold.
The 1.21-hectare stretch of land owned by the Perlis State Economic Development Corporation (PKENPs) has about 15,000 sunflower plants.
Just three months after it was opened to the public in December last year, it recorded over 15,000 domestic and foreign visitors.
PKENPs general manager Norsiake Kassim said since the farm was reopened to the public on June 10 after the easing of the movement control order, the main group of tourists has been teenagers, while the number of family visitors has dropped.
“Most visitors came during weekends on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, ” he told Bernama recently.
However, he is hopeful that the number of visitors especially locals, will go up again as the local tourism sector is expected to recover within the next few months.
Recounting the history of the sunflower field in the Snake and Reptile Park, Norsiake said the field was originally an unused valley with wet soil.
The idea to plant it with sunflower plants was mooted by PKENPs publicity and promotion unit staff to create an alternative product inspired by the Lopburi sunflower farm in Thailand.
“In 2017 and 2018, PKENPs corporate manager Hasmadi Ibrahim spent his own money to buy local sunflower seeds but the attempt failed as we did not have the expertise in this area.
“In 2019, we tried again with ‘Oil’-type seeds from Thailand. After three attempts, our efforts bore good results as the seeds were suitable to our weather and soil, ” he explained.
Meanwhile, Snake and Reptile Park personnel Azmilah Kassim, 36, said it was not easy getting the results that visitors see.
She explained that the sunflowers, with the scientific name Helianthus annuus, would last for only three to four weeks before withering.
The sunflowers take two months to grow from seed to blooming flowers.
“The seeds are planted in stages every two to three weeks to ensure the plants grow in batches. Later, they will be moved to the fields, where they are carefully tended until the flowers bloom, ” she said.
The sunflower field is located at Sungai Batu Pahat, Perlis and admission fees are RM6 for adults and RM3 for children between five and 12 years old.
Call +604-976 8511 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. — Bernama
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