Wednesday, May 27

Using social media to improve farming techniques

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Sidek (right) and Mazuki inspect their large green chili plants at Kampung Pak Keral. — Bernama photo

TUMPAT: After acquiring agricultural knowledge through social media platforms, two farmers decided to embark on a project to grow large green chili plants better known as ‘lada solok’ (chili solok) in Kelantan.

With RM10,000 capital the duo – Sidek Ali Hussein, 31 and Marzuki Awang, 33, started the project in November last year.

“After reading news and information posted by various Fertigation Groups on Facebook, I realised the crop has potential and is capable of giving good returns apart from the fact that it is in great demand in the state.

“I learned farming and fertigation techniques from YouTube as well as from other farming enthusiasts who shared their experiences in using the techniques,” Sidek Ali told Bernama when met at his project site here rcently.

“We have so far planted 1,800 plants on this 0.1 hectare plot which the villagers here have leased out to us on an annual basis,” said the Mara Skills Institute (IKM) Sik, Kedah graduate.

According to Sidek Ali previously he was running a small business while his friend, Marzuki worked in an oil and gas company, before both of them decided to quit their jobs to seriously go into chilli farming.

Elaborating, he said they chose the fertigation technique as it would save time and less land as well as watering were required as compared to traditional farming methods.

Sidek Ali said he was initially worried that the project would be unsuccessful but was relieved when the crop’s first harvest turned out to be fruitful and profitable.

“During the first harvest, we managed to gather 22 kilogrammes (kg), which was from half of the total number of trees and we sold them to retailers and traders in the area at RM8 to RM10 per kg depending on the current market price.

“If the crops bear fruits at the same time in one season, which is between five to six months, we will be able to obtain a yield worth up to RM30,000,” he said.

“We plan to grow the same crop at another location next year to enable us to supply chili solok continuously to meet the high market demand,” he added. — Bernama