Digging deep into urban farming

(From left) EMIR Research research analyst Amanda Yeoh, Khairiyanti, Prof Koh and Jayden during the panel discussion. — Photos: SS KANESAN/The Star

WITH the global push for food security, an urban farming event was held in Shah Alam, Selangor.

The Urban Farming Festival 2022 (UFF2022) gathered urban farming companies from around the country at Central i-City shopping centre over three days.

A highlight of the event was a panel discussion that featured CityFarm co-founder Jayden Koay Teng Seong, Selangor state Agricultural Department (JPNS) assistant agricultural officer Khairiyanti Khamis and Sunway University Sustainable Education academician Prof Koh Hock Lye.

“Urban farming is going to be the solution to a more sustainable or more secure food production in the country,” said Jayden.

“This is also very much related to how urbanisation is happening, as we live on an overpopulated planet.

Potted plants on sale to help visitors start urban farming.Potted plants on sale to help visitors start urban farming.

“Unless we adapt to urban farming, we will have no solution for food security,” he stressed.

“I tend to look at urban farming from the perspective of sustainability,” said Koh.

“Due to global climate change, the sea level is rising. We have real data from Penang, Guangzhou and Miami.

“Because of the rising sea level, Guangzhou and Miami have soil that is so salinated that these cities cannot grow food on the ground.

“In such cases, urban farming is a necessity,” he added.

A visitor checking out vegetables grown using aquaponic methods. A visitor checking out vegetables grown using aquaponic methods.

Khairiyanti said JPNS had incentives for citizens who were interested in taking up urban farming.

These range from RM500 for individuals to RM10,000 for community- or institution-level projects.

She said schools could apply for these incentives, whereby RM10,000 would be allocated per school to encourage youths to get involved in urban farming programmes.

The UFF2022 saw a variety of events, including the launch of Malaysia’s first rooftop melon farm.

To encourage the take-up of urban farming, CityFarm held a session to demonstrate how anyone could be an urban farmer.

Another session taught the public how to start a vegetable garden at home.

There was also a session showcasing apps for urban farming to demonstrate how technology is now used to enhance urban agriculture practices.

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