Azman is a young and energetic farmer who grows organic produce in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. He has a day job and tends to his crops in the evening. He attended a course to learn about the methods of growing organic paddy and its benefits on environmental and human health. Since then, he has continued his efforts in growing organic paddy and vegetables despite the difficulties and challenges that face him. In a world where farmers are supported based on their ability to grow maximum output rather than their efforts in maintaining a holistic agroecological practices, Azman needs incentives and moral support to continue his organic efforts.
We are inspired by people like Azman – young, daring and motivated. There are many smallholder farmers around Kota Bharu who also practice organic agriculture and also face challenges. They have all the right reasons to not do so; doing conventional farming is easier, support is available and there’s a ready market. But our organic farmers are visionary and see the long term benefits of practicing organic agriculture despite the difficulties.
We supported them and believed that a solution could be found in the form of agrotourism. Agrotourism is a concept which allows for a farm to be multifunctional – more than just for growing food, a farm is useful for food sovereignty, biodiversity and economic stimulation. It encourages visitors to experience agricultural life first hand. Agrotourism is gathering strong support from small communities as rural dwellers have realised the benefits of sustainable development brought about by this form of tourism. Visitors to the project had the opportunity to work in the fields alongside real farmers, discover where their food comes from and experience the ‘culture’ in agri’culture’.
We developed a holistic programme for tourists, local and international, which aims to empower our local farmers. It also incorporates local cultural activities such as a visit to the batik workshop, wayang kulit puppet maker and dikir barat circles.
Meet our Farmers
How it benefited.
|Rural community development||Interpersonal communication skills|
– Equip smallholder organic farmers with the necessary skills and confidence to be hosts for local and international tourists, especially for Malaysian youth.
– Develop a programme which is socioeconomically and ecologically sound which can be run by the local farmers.
– Develop and show the opportunities and potential of earning multiple on-farm and off-farm incomes in a rural setting to encourage local Kelantanese youth to strengthen the local economy.
Long Term Impact
– More conventional farmers and members of the community will practice organic farming methods, which will ultimately improve food security, environmental and human health.
– To inspire young Kelantanese to pursue organic farming as a career option.
– To raise the awareness amongst the local community of the importance of organic farming practices and improve the social status of the organic farmers in Kelantan.
– To promote Kota Bharu as an agro-tourism destination.
What they had to say;
“The interaction with the farmers were great – made me reflect a lot and appreciate more of our food and the source of it.”
“I knew nothing about organic farming before coming and I’d like to think I now know the basics, if not everything about it now.”
“Very fresh and enriching. I would like to come again.”