Just beyond Cameron Highlands (Pahang), right on the border with Kelantan, at an altitude of at least 800m above sea level, sits an impressive 3,800-acre (approx.1,537 hectares) farm. Situated in Lojing Highlands, Cameron Harvest farm enterprise is owned and run by Kobbi Eliangko, a 26-year old aircraft engineer.
Kobbi is no stranger to farm life. Having grown up on his father’s farm, he returned in 2016 to take over and expand the farm land. Kobbi set about clearing the land, literally paving the way towards building an agricultural enterprise. “My interest and passion are in agriculture. It’s a sustainable and profitable business. It is also the type of business that can be passed down to future generations.”
Cameron Harvest’s land accessibility is classified as Tier 3 ie. inaccessible. Tier 3 land is not expensive. The downside to this however is the labour involved in carving out proper access and managing transportation logistics involved in carrying on building works (to expand facilities) and in getting produce delivered to retailers.
Today Kobbi runs a large-scale vegetable farm with over 100 acres of active farmland. He grows about 40 – 50 outdoor vegetable crop varieties, such as cabbage, chili and coriander. A greenhouse is used exclusively to grow export-quality Holland tomatoes. Cameron Harvest supplies vegetable produce to various supermarkets and farm-produce shops around Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
A further 400 acres is being prepared to expand active farm enterprise.
Embarking on a farming business
Kobbi shares the following points:
- Embark upon farming business with industry know-how. If necessary, employ a farming expert to assess soil suitability for particular crops. Alternatively, a representative from the [To check: is it the Ministry of Agriculture or Department of Agriculture] or the State’s District Agriculture Office (Jabatan Pertanian Negeri) can be engaged to conduct a soil test at a minimal fee.
- A farm enterprise needs recognition. The Department of Agriculture (DOA) and all its relevant district and regional offices also issues agricultural certification necessary for a commercial farming enterprise.
- Farms should obtain certification under the Malaysian Good Agricultural Practice Scheme (myGAP) – please refer to the website for the certification process. myGAP fosters good farming practices – emphasising on environmentally-friendly infrastructure and processes, economy and social aspects (such as standards to safeguard the welfare and safety of workers) to ensure the produce is safe and of good quality. The certification process is described in the myGAP website.
- To meet the demand for quality organic produce, by obtaining certification under the Malaysian Organic Certification Scheme (myORGANIC) farm’s activities meet the Malaysian Standard (MS1529:2015) in relation to production, processing, handling, labelling and marketing organic agrifood products.
- Vegetables do not require Halal certification.
Kobbi’s farm is certified under both the myGAP and the myOrganic schemes.
Exporting Malaysian agricultural produce
Cameron Harvest intends to engage in international trade. The export of produce requires Malaysian Phytosanitary Certification (myPhyto) obtained via the DOA – For more information on this e-Phytosanitary certification, see the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT) Brief No. 19 (March 2017) ‘Towards Electronic Phytosamityary Certification and E-Cert Issuance – Electronic Phytosanitary Certificates For Agricultural Commodities in Malaysia’.