Sarikei Hydroponics Farm Owner Finds Silver Lining During Pandemic



Councilman Lau Sie Hing (fifth from right) and SUPP entourage admire the fresh vegetables. Chan is second from the right, while his father is on the right.

SARIKEI (August 22): The Covid-19 outbreak has presented an unprecedented challenge to human well-being with many people losing their jobs and source of income.

This is no exception for a farmer’s son, Chan Chyun Chow, who now runs his own hydroponic vegetable farm which he here named “Daily Fresh Hydroponics”.

The boy, in his 30s, said the idea for his hydroponic vegetable farm came about in the last two years of the pandemic, and he considers it a blessing in disguise.

“It’s a new project on my father’s 22-acre farm where my family lives,” Chan told The Borneo Post during a recent study tour organized by the Youth and Women’s Sections. of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).

According to Chan, they originally only grew fruit trees in their orchard in Sungai Galan, Kesa near here, where they have a total of 70 ripe durians.

He added that there were now some 1,300 other trees bearing fruit such as bananas, pineapples, papayas and watermelons.

The idea of ​​hydroponic farming was brought up during the Movement Control Order (MCO) at the height of the pandemic by his older brother who was working in Singapore.

After careful consideration and being amazed by hydroponic technology, Chan felt the need to explore it and first set up a small greenhouse as an experiment.

After seeing his positive results, Chan set up two more larger greenhouses on the adjacent one and a half acre lot for his hydroponic vegetable growing business.

“It cost around RM50,000 to build a simple greenhouse, including its equipment. Meanwhile, a fully equipped greenhouse with ‘belian’ poles including labor can cost up to RM70,000,” he said, while pointing out that the electric water pump system plays also a major role in the success of hydroponic agriculture.

Absolutely thrilled with his successful business, Chan is now diversifying his vegetable selections and growing a variety like ‘Pak Choy’, Curly Mustard Green, Salad Greens, and ‘Bitter Sawi’, among others.

On future plans, he said he will grow other high demand vegetables that are suitable and can grow using the hydroponic system.

In his explanation to the entourage, Chan said he used the Deep Flow Technique (DFT) and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system to deliver nutrients to vegetables grown in specially installed PVC pipe holes, adding that he had learned these techniques from an online course that he attended during the MCO period.

“The seeds will take about seven days to germinate, which will then need to be transferred to the nursery for another seven days before they are ready to be grown in the main system,” he said.

“Normally, vegetables grown in a hydroponic system will take around 45 to 50 days to reach their mature stage.

“The best thing about the farm is that no pesticides are used and the vegetables are safe to eat, even without having to wash them,” he added.

Based on the current market price, Chan said adult vegetables could fetch RM7-10 per kg, depending on the weight and type of vegetable.

Its hydroponic vegetables are packaged under the “Daily Fresh Hydroponics” label and are sold in supermarkets in Sarikei and Bintangor.

Apart from the recent entourage of subsidiary SUPP Bintangor, several organizations such as the Bureau of Agriculture have also visited his farm and expressed their interest in trying hydroponic farming, he said.

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