This week let’s look into the world of a modern farmer. Fasbir (our head grower) utilises IoT technology to monitor key parameters in ensuring good quality crops are grown chemical pesticide free in our own farms; but what else does he do for JustGood Group and the population in general? How is this related to the modern farmer in Malaysia and overseas?
Agriculture based on 2020 statistics contributed RM101.5 billion to our nations GDP whereby 25.9% of this is “other crops” which includes fruits and vegetables (Department of Statistics, Malaysia). The perception of being a farmer in this country is not something positive. In some other countries this is seen as a gentleman’s job where you require discipline, physical strength and intellect. In Malaysia unfortunately it is seen as a 4D job (dirty, dangerous, demeaning, difficult) with an ageing workforce of average age 53. Why is this so? Why is such an old, lasting and noble profession cast in negative light? Why are the young staying away from this industry?
There are multiple challenges the average farmer faces which include the lack of pricing transparency in the supply chain hence poor deals made with buyers, lack of means to market and sell their produce in an unnecessarily long supply chain, lack of knowledge and skillsets to operate with industry best practices, costs being too high as an individual smallholder and funding/cashflow issues. All these challenges create inefficiencies which eat up into the average farmers margins.
Where does Fasbir and JustGood Group (JGG) come in? How are we solving these problems and enlisting Malaysia’s modern farmers to feed the local population with exports in mind in the near future?
The education/training programs that JGG will be starting next month for farmers is inspired by the training programs that have been conducted by the Incorporated Society of Planters (ISP). The ISP has been a backbone for the Malaysian Oil Palm Industry for over 100 years and one way it has played it’s role is to ensure that the planters from the society are well educated and trained in the critical skillsets demanded by their profession. It has also over the years shaped many young cadet planters into model individuals who have led the industry into greater heights despite its many challenges. JGG education/training programs will focus on food crops with the idea of building the nations modern day farmers with exemplary characters. Leaders like Fasbir will be there to conduct the programs to build a nation of well-rounded modern farmers who practice smart precision farming (SPF).
The whole ecosystem from first mile to last mile is approached in a holistic manner to reduce it’s challenges.
Why has Fasbir joined this movement to tackle the challenges of the supply chain as a whole? Challenges in the supply chain cannot be solved individually or as separate components because they are interlinked. We need the whole chain to be coordinated and in sync to effect change which brings benefit to the stakeholders overall. Buying direct from farmers and selling directly to consumers alone does not solve the ground challenges the farmers face every day. Is buying poor quality crops and selling these to consumers beneficial for anyone? How do we help farmers maximise the production of Grade A crops in their farms which in turn gives local consumers quality at a fair price and also opens up the possibility of these farms exporting their crops? How do we help farmers know what to grow, how to grow them and grow them sufficiently yet avoid wastage?
All that is achieved here will give consumers stable prices and supply throughout the year, better pricing and produce quality overall which is also chemical pesticide free, better transparency in the supply chain while matching supply and demand.
Fasbir and his team provide consultancy by showing rather than telling. What Fasbir is able to achieve in our own farm is brought to other farmers so they too can produce the best quality crops that are filled with nutrition and fetch a better price overall in the market.
Questions from farmers on what to grow based on geographic conditions to how to grow them efficiently with the best practices is a key purpose that Fasbir and his team serve.
Equipping farmers with the right knowledge and skillset through build up of technical capabilities and constant support is how Fasbir and his team make a difference to the farming community nationally.
In running a farming business, there are multiple aspects to look at. It’s not just about growing a particular type of crop or multiple types of crops which make it even more challenging. Running a farming business requires an individual operator or a group of operators to cover logistics, sales, marketing, accounting, procurement, customer service, human resources etc. How do smaller scale
farmers focus on producing the best crops when they need to cover all this?
JustGood covers this for the farmers via its team members that specialise in the components required to run a profitable farming business. This way the farmers can focus more on their work with Fasbir and his team in producing good quality crops efficiently while not worrying about the other aspects required to run the business as a whole.
Standards, systems and quality
In the JustGood agriculture vertical, our farms and partner farms must have a minimum of MyGap certification standards, beyond that produce crops without chemical pesticides and provide traceability throughout the chain of custody.
Producing consistent and good quality crops in large scale to feed a consumption point requires proper policies, processes and procedures which Fasbir and the agriculture team has built up.
Fasbir, aged 33, with formal education (Diploma in Plantation Management and graduate of Khazanah’s Planter’s program) in agriculture, humble and hardworking with the motivation to grow good quality crops and share his knowledge in how to grow them is an example of the modern Malaysian farmer.
Through the end-to-end supply chain solution that JustGood is operating and the education/training program to bring about more Fasbir’s, we should be on the right track to modernise our agriculture industry and have better food security for the nation.
All this we do with a great team with strong fundamentals including our resident nutritionist who will be featured in future write ups.
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