Malaysia: 1M sq. ft farms planned in four urban hubs planned in next five years

Sunway Group, through Sunway XFarms, plans to build one million square feet of decentralized, smart farms across four urban hubs in Malaysia in the next five years. Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway XFarms director Matt van Leeuwen said the group planned to scale up the farms and increase its produce to provide better, healthier options for the public.

"This is obviously not something that will happen overnight, but in the next five years, we aim to build one million square feet of decentralized, smart farms across four urban food hubs in Malaysia. "This includes Klang Valley, Iskandar Puteri in Johor, Ipoh, and Penang, which are all areas where Sunway has a strong presence. In five years, we expect these four hubs will yield three million kilograms of produce on a yearly basis," he said in an interview.

The concept for Sunway XFarms came about two years ago during the onset of the pandemic, driven by several market shifts that were taking place. He said the pandemic showed that food supply chains were fragile, and it required innovation to address deeply rooted farm-to-fork inefficiencies.

Another driver of the initiative among students in Sunway University that took an interest in IoT technologies to build agricultural solutions. He said through Sunway iLabs in 2018, the group had built a makerspace in Sunway University to give students a space to turn ideas into prototypes. He realized that young talents were now getting interested in agriculture because of the technology involved. However, they lacked a real testbed to validate their ideas and take them to market.

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