Bern got involved with OA Organik when his dad asked him to come home to help at the farm. Dad Ali was one of the pioneering farmers. Bern found farming interesting, so he quit his job at Kg Sungai Soi. That was in 2017, soon after the OA Organik farm started in Kg Ulu Gumum in December 2016.

On harvest days, Bern is up before dawn to start harvesting. You can see him often working till dark, aided by his wife Nazira who started farming when she was 19. Zira, as she is known, has been working tirelessly alongside Bern right from the beginning.

About 2½ years ago, when Bern was asked if farming at OA Organik was a much harder job compared to his previous employment, he admitted it was. But he liked the freedom of working for himself – being able to decide his own life, and to see the fruits of his own labour.

When asked his hope for the future, Bern shared that he wanted to be a professional farmer. He wished to develop his technical knowledge and farming skills, particularly in intercropping.

True to his dream, you can now see Bern experimenting with and innovating on existing farming methods. He is also the man to go to for compost making, of which he is in charge. In keeping with technology, Bern conscientiously uses the Open Data Kit (ODK) App to input temperatures for the different compost piles.

Bern appreciates the skills he has acquired. More than half a year ago, he expanded his farming plot to one-third of an acre, using his own savings. His commitment to the farm extends to being in the OA Organik farm committee, together with Zira.

That’s Bern, our accidental farmer turned model farmer, and his wife Zira.

Credit to Francesco Cabras for many of the photographs used.

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