It has been six months since we last blogged, and we are back! Much has actually happened during this period of ‘inactivity’ on our blogs. Let us share a few significant events.
On 11 October 2017, Zairu and Manan arranged their farm produce on the organic vegetables shelves at Jaya Grocer City Mall Kuantan. There is also an informative poster of us next to the shelves. 🙂 This marks our partnership with Jaya Grocer, and an expansion of our market in Kuantan. What a laudable achievement for the farmers since they sold their first crop in June 2016!
Another milestone was receiving the Star Golden Hearts Award 2017 in November! Yayasan Kajian dan Pembangunan Masyarakat (YKPM) which facilitates the OA Organics Farm project in partnership with the Orang Asli of Kg Ulu Gumum was one of the ten winners of the Award.
Watch the video clip for a glimpse of the farm and a preview of the OA Organics project: https://www.thestartv.com/v/golden-hearts-award-2017-an-organic-dream-for-orang-asli#bt6EGlOLMpO1uEBR.01
We also had a transition in our technical and office teams. “Thank You” Errol and Melinda, who have moved on to other endeavours, for your effort in guiding the Orang Asli farmers when the farm first started. Terima Kasih too to Caroline and Gem who handled sales and coordination of the farm produce.
There is now a new team of technical volunteers to guide farm development. In the last few months, Mr Lim Koon Hup and a few others have been coaching the OA farmers, while another team of experts worked at improving the efficiency of the water irrigation system (more in forthcoming blog).
Another significant development at the farm was the re-structuring of the farm organisation. The farmers re-organised themselves into five groups. Each group manages a plot, and the farmers would be paid according to the harvest of their respective plot.
After three months of this new structure, we see a higher level of efficiency. A focus on one plot enabled each group to manage and monitor what was done or not done more effectively. We also observe increased ownership — the farmers are not just working harder but are exploring ways to improve production!
Finally, in February 2018, subsidy for the farm was removed. It was frightening to the farmers at first! But the plus side is they have expressed their readiness to press on, and to be self-reliant.
Orang Asli at OA Organics boleh! We look forward to ramping up farm production and bringing the much-missed organically grown vegetables back to PJ and KL.