Malaysia: little vertical farm abundant with potential

With the help of Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ), Kebun By Ambo,  a vertical farm, nestled in the Taman Wawasan Recreational Park in Persiaran Wawasan, Taman Wawasan in Puchong, Selangor has been yielding fruitful results since November last year.

“During the pandemic, we saw the potential in urban vertical farming using the hydroponic system. Here, vegetables are planted in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cylindrical towers inserted with seaweed-based nutrients and connected to water sources.

“The project was proposed to MBSJ and we were given approval to kick-start a pilot project at Taman Wawasan. “This is the first project where a small portion of a public park is being used for urban farming, ” said Yap. It is a collaboration between the council and a private company.

The aim of the project is to raise public awareness of vertical gardens using the hydroponic system. The crops are sold to the public, priced at RM20 per kilogram. The project is presently based on a profit-sharing model, with 30% channeled to the city council.

Kebun By Amboi consultant Benjamin Haw said the cost of building the entire infrastructure for the farm was RM100,000. The hydroponic method has been around since the 1930s and it has been proven to be safe for human consumption, said Haw. “The nutrients added to the plants are safe too.

There are plans for Kebun By Amboi to become an educational hub for children and to host school excursions. Also in the pipeline is a cafe on-site, where vegetables sold can be cooked on the spot based on the garden-to-kitchen concept.

Farm caretakers Chandran Kutty, Manoharan Perumal and Mahendran Kaniapan are retired professional landscapers who enjoy spending time at the farm. They enjoy tending to the vegetables and are interested in environmentally friendly farming methods that produce less carbon footprint. “People ask a lot of questions when they come here. This is good as they too get to take home knowledge and either implement what they have learned at home or teach others,” said Chandran.

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