OA Organik celebrated its 5th anniversary in December 2020! Let’s trace some significant milestones….

Putting their hands to the plough

In December 2015, 14 Orang Asli at Kg Ulu Gumum – Zariu, Nor, Masenah, Beriyah, Alus, Samar, Wan, Rogayah, Ali, Din, Razif, Nordin and Ghafar – ploughed the land and laid the irrigation system for the community farm. This happened after eleven months (January – November 2015) of community preparation workshops, and garden workshops.

Harvesting for the first time

After six back-breaking months with no income, while juggling with part-time odd jobs, the farmers harvested their produce in June 2016! There were bumper harvests of bottle gourds and petola, then brinjals and okra.

Entering competitive market

12th October 2017 marked the entry into competitive market for the Orang Asli farmers. Their farm produce were sold for the first time at Jaya Grocer @ Kuantan City Mall, Kuantan!

Subsequently, Jaya Grocer, our CSR partner, opened up more outlets for us in the Klang Valley:

  • PJ Starling Mall, Damansara Uptown (August 2018)
  • Main Place Mall, USJ21 (October 2018)
  • Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam; Pearl Point Old Klang Road, KL; Bangsar Market @ KL Eco City (in stages, 2019)

Getting recognition

One of ten winners, Star Golden Hearts Award 2017 – The OA Organics Model, facilitated by Yayasan Kajian Masyarakat & Pembangunan Masyarakat (YKPM) was recognised for its impact in alleviating poverty among the Orang Asli. Watch the video clip @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF_nZ6243Mk.

Selected for Showcase, UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, April 2019 – it was a celebrity experience for the farmers being photographed by famous Italian actor and film director, Francesco Cabras! Click on arrow ( >) for a slideshow of two dozens breathtaking photographs.

Featured in The Guardians aired on national Singapore TV on 23rd May 2019 – YKPM was featured as one of three guardians of the Orang Asli by Mediacorp Channel U, Singapore. Watch segment 11:42-31:30 @ https://www.mewatch.sg/show/The-Guardians-30172.

Presentation of OA Organik Project to Minister of Finance, Malaysia, 25th July 2020 – one of the key points shared by Kon Onn Sein, YKPM Managing Director, was that the Orang Asli are forest people, not kampung (village) people. A MOF team subsequently visited the farm on 19th August 2020.

Replicating the Model

In May 2019, a group of Orang Asli with a strong sense of development at Kg OA Melai expressed their interest to join the farm project. Twelve apprentices spent a couple of months training at the Kg Ulu Gumum farm, supported by the farmers there. They are now farming sustainably!

Getting a new branding

OA Organics became OA Organik on 16th June 2020, for a more asli or indigenous image. Our appreciation goes to the designers, Rojo Matthews (OA Organics), and Kwan Beng Keat & team (OA Organik) for their pro bono work.

Being accredited as a Social Enterprise

This national certification recognises legitimate social enterprises with verifiable track record of allocating > 51% of their annual profit to targeted beneficiaries. We, in fact, utilise 70% of the revenue towards solving multi-dimensional poverty of the Orang Asli.

The accreditation on 23rd November 2020 validates OA Organik’s financially sustainable approach in uplifting the Orang Asli’s livelihood. It also acknowledges our social and environment impact.

What an amazing and inspiring five-year journey! From 8 farmers, there are now 55 trained farmers.

The farmers beamed that for the 2021 school year, they bought new school uniforms for their children, instead of wearing old ones. Terima kasih for your continuous support in realising their dream of improved livelihood for their families and their community through organic farming.

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to our funders: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), DUMC, UNDP-GEF-SGP Malaysia, Yayasan Hasanah, Gamuda Berhad, Ministry of Finance Malaysia, High Commission of Canada, German Speaking Society of Kuala Lumpur (GSSKL), and Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).

We are also grateful to individual donors and volunteers for always cheering the Orang Asli on!

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