Friday, May 27

Exchange students run project on food waste

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The exchange students with Chang at the Kota Samarahan farm.

The exchange students with Chang at the Kota Samarahan farm.

KUCHING: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Aiesec student organisation started its ‘Why Waste Food?’ project this month to awaken the public to the issue of food waste.

Made up of five exchange participants from China, Indonesia, Pakistan and Switzerland, the project includes filming a documentary, conducting workshops in

schools, writing newspaper articles about their experience and sharing their findings through the blog kuchingaiesecers.wordpress.com.

Students stayed at Chang’s Fruits Supplier farm for a week to document farm life and show all the effort and resources invested in food production.

Located in Kampung Tanjung Parang, Kota Samarahan, the farm belongs to Chang Kueh Kiong who runs the family business with his wife and son who helps out after school.

They grow fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, wax apples and ladies’ fingers, and produce honey.

On the farm, no food is wasted and leftovers are served at the next meal.

Students joined the couple on the farm to learn facts about food production,  as well as how to harvest ladies’ fingers and honey.

They felt lucky to be able to stay with locals and discover fruits and vegetables not found in their own countries.

The students learned what happens to fresh produce after leaving the farm as they went to Stutong Market to meet one of Chang’s important buyers — a wholesaler.

Students discovered that products not sold by the wholesaler go to temples, public welfare organisations or charity.

Products that do not meet regulations are used to make fertiliser or turned into feed for cattle or other animals.

According to the wholesaler, fertilisers, seeds, and other production materials are really expensive today.

During their farm stay, students learned how long it takes to grow fruits and vegetables, how many hours the farmers work in a day, how much water and other resources are used, and the difficulties faced during crop growth.

This process helped them understand how difficult it is to be a farmer, especially in tropical regions, where crops are prone to pest attacks.

They also learned that farmers have to invest a lot of money, time and effort into food production, which is why we should be careful and not waste food.