Community-driven urban farms a source of income for residents

PETALING JAYA: Four years ago, residents of a public housing project (PPR) in Kuala Lumpur decided to turn areas near their buildings into an urban farm.

When they started, the crops were only for their own consumption to reduce expenses, but now they have also turned into a source of income for some, said Rohana Abdul Wahab.

The 60-year-old homemaker said the residents at PPR Gombak Setia Block 41 only wanted to fill up their time during the movement control order; however, some of them have also started selling their crops within the community.

Rohana is among 15 other urban farmers that took up the challenge to grow vegetables and fruits on a designated land near their flat smack in between buildings in suburban Kuala Lumpur.

Rohana said the community-driven urban farms have received support from both government agencies and private organisations.

She said the Agriculture Department has been providing the farmers with farming necessities that include fertiliser and soil.

“It has been going on very well, with all the support we have received from various individuals.

“However, as the scale grows, the cost of sustaining the crops also gets higher.

“We hope to get more funding, or if not more, support in terms of resources, so that we can keep this farm alive for the benefit of the community,” she added.

Commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s announcement in February that the government is planning to introduce targeted urban agriculture programmes, Rohana said she welcomed the proposal.

“I just hope that the government can ensure more frequent monitoring and surveys of the farms to see the needs of farmers.

“Another issue would be the land titles; not all land is owned by the government; some are private and this could be an issue for some,” she said.

According to the plan, the government is taking Singapore’s programmes as a model.

Anwar has said the programme, starting with Kuala Lumpur, would aim to increase the country’s agricultural output.

In 2021, island state Singapore launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030, which includes the “30 by 30” food security goal – to produce 30% of its food requirements domestically by 2030.

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