This June holidays, we were lucky to be invited to visit a very special farm about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. It’s a high tech farm which produces seeds to be sold to other farms. In fact, Mr. Chua, the owner who is an engineer by training and a PhD in management, jokes that visitors don’t need to change shoes when they visit his farm – high heels are welcome.
It was great for Bea too as since her toddler days, she has always had a fascination with seeds. So this trip really expanded the idea of what sort of farmers there were. To be honest, it was also an eye opener for us too. The truth is, I never really considered where farmers got their seeds from – I always thought they would just keep some from the harvest to be replanted.
The farm was run by farm management graduates. Mr Chua explained that you need trained staff who can control the amount of water, fertilizer, pest management for the plants and only a few more workers to do the potting, planting.
It was all very fascinating for us to see the rock melons and honeydews growing in pots of grounded coconut husks that had nutrients and water dripped in, grown in rows inside a tropical greenhouse. This was how they controlled for disease and as the melons ripened, the amount of water dripped in would be reduced to increase the sweetness of the melon. Poor thirsty melons!
The farm also does a lot of hybrids – shorter plants for easier harvesting and I learnt that cross breeding is not the same as GMO… an analogy by Mr Chua hammered in the point, he said, “Bea, you are a cross breed between your mother and father but you were not modified at any point!” I almost wanted to check her for spots – you know, like if you cross bred a black and white cow with a brown cow, how would the calf turn out? 🙂