Thriving on orchids and dragon fruit

MOHD Rafie Md Din’s orchid business in Langkawi, Kedah, is blooming, thanks to valuable tips given by his two Chinese gurus. 

Mohd Rafie, who is fondly known as Pak Ngah, said he would not have made it in the industry without the valuable tips on plant care techniques given by an orchid farmer in Penang and a seed seller from Kulim. 

“With the Agriculture Department’s support and the tips from two of my gurus in the industry, I am now able to supply orchids to all the posh hotels, resorts and spas in Langkawi,” he said at his farm in Kampung Sungai Tok Putri in Mukim Ayer Hangat recently. 

Mohd Rafie, 64, said he had been growing orchids as a hobby since 1988. 

”The Agriculture Department director who was based here at the time inspired me to make money from my hobby. 

“With a capital of RM60,000, I started growing orchids for commercial purposes in 1991,” he said, adding that he now has about 40,000 orchid plants. 

Apart from orchids, Mohd Rafie is also growing dragon fruit and star fruit, and durian belanda. 

Mohd Rafie’s dragon fruit is undoubtedly one of the sweetest in the market. 

“I only harvest when the fruits are ripe enough. 

“Most of those who grow dragon fruits for commercial purposes tend to pluck the fruit early. That is why the fruit is not that sweet,” he said, adding that he started growing them three years ago. 

Mohd Rafie has about 400 dragon fruit trees at his farm. 

“I harvest between 10kg and 15kg of dragon fruit a day. I do not have enough to meet the market demand. 

“Right now I only supply to a hotel client,” he said. 

Mohd Rafie’s future plan is to build an arboretum of wild orchids. 

“I have so far found about 30 wild orchids in the jungles of Langkawi. I plan to source for more wild orchids as a tourism product. 

“I am now in the process of building a kind of greenhouse to grow and keep the wild orchids. 

“Tourists go wild looking at the wild orchids. I intend to impose a fee on the visitors,” he said, adding that the greenhouse should be ready by next year.  

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