Organic Farms and Organic Vegetables
Cameron Organic Produce Sdn Bhd (C.O.P.)

Agro tourism Malaysia anyone? Our recent trip to Cameron Highlands, we visited an organic farms and learned the difference between organic vegetables and normally grown vegetables. It was very educational and Mr Lee was kind enough to show us his organic farm and explained how organic vegetables are grown. Perhaps you might even try having an organic vegetable garden in your house?

Organic farming of organic vegetables in Cameron Highlands

Just this year, my brother-in-law, Kenny was stricken with nasal cancer. It was rather depressing to learn about it. After some deep consideration Kenny and his wife, Rebecca decided to go about fighting it using complimentary medicine and nutritional method. It requires a very strict diet and extreme discipline to go through the process. And we learned that the benefits of eating organic vegetables are many, but we weren't too sure what did it mean by organically grown vegetables. So our trip to Cameron Highlands this time included a trip to visit an organic farm to learn more about the process. It was recommended by one of the organic health shops.

So off we go to Brinchang and meet up with Mr Lee who not only has an organic farm but also a restaurant serving charcoal steamboat served with organic vegetables!

We rode at the back of the Cameron Highlands land rovers to reach the organic farm

Traffic was a bit heavy as we made our way to Cameron Organic Produce Sdn Bhd shop in Brinchang. Serve us right to come on a super peak holiday weekend made worst with a stalled lorry sitting right in the middle of the narrow Brinchang road. We met with one of the Mr Lee (I think they are brothers, but we didn't ask) who took us to their organic farm. The ride was interesting as I decided sit shotgun in Cameron Highlands work horse land rovers, while the rest of the family followed in the Toyota Wish. Turning in to a road between Iris Hotel and Hotel Titiwangsa, before long we arrived at narrow entry road. We have to switch to the land rover for the balance journey as the normal car cannot handle the terrain.

We enjoyed our bumpy ride with natural jungle foliage all around us. The air was cool and the roar of the land rover moving ahead creating a strong wind at the back seats of the uncovered land rover.

Arriving at the Cameron Organic Produce farm, another Mr Lee took over and started explaining about the various process of organic farming.

In organic farming, no pesticide and artificial fertilizers are used. Everything is done naturally. Only a handful of farms in Cameron Highlands are growing vegetables using organic farming method. Most of the vegetables we get are pumped full of chemicals from fertilizers to provide artificial nutrients and insecticides to kill off insects and worms that feed off from the vegetables. Many a times vegetables from Malaysia get rejected by the Singapore government because of insecticides going over the permissible levels. However for organic vegetables, no trace of poison would be detected because none is used! So how did Mr Lee and other organic farms do it?

Mr Lee explaining the process of organic farming of organic vegetables

Most of the conventional farming method has in way depleted the soil of its natural nutrients. So in order for the vegetables to grow, chemical fertilizers are pump back into the soil. For organic farming, the first thing a farmer needs to do is to prepare the soil and fertilized it using natural means. Mr Lee uses the chicken droppings and mixes it with other compost and let the pile ferment to break down the nutrients so that later when used as fertilizer it can be readily absorbed by the vegetable plants.

In conventional farming, to control the insects and pest that feed on vegetables, much insecticide is used and those poison do not discriminated between good and bad insects and worms. Some vegetables are more prone to insect infestation then others, for example Kailan vegetables are very susceptible to insects, and in order to protect it, farmers spray a very heavy coat of insecticide on the leafy vegetables. You can wash as much of it away as possible, but there will still be poisons that get absorb into it. Sometimes you hear in the wet market when people say if you see worms on the vegetables it is an indication that there is no insecticide or at least the insecticide has broken down over its prescribe period.

In organic farming, no pesticide is used at all. Nada. Zilch. Yes, none at all. Then how do they control the pests? According to Mr Lee, organic farming cannot yield a 100% harvest. There will always be loss. If done correctly and controlled the loss to insects and pest should be around 30% though there were also instances where their loss were much higher including total loss! To control the harmful insect population, they use natural means like encouraging natural predators and insects that prey on bad insects. They use pheromones to attract natural insect predators and use insect traps to capture them. The organic farming method has attracted the attention of Department of Agricultural and the department has consistently certified "non-detectable" residue of chemicals in the organic vegetable produce.

Typical of organic vegetables, it has worms and insects!

In addition, crop rotation is done not only to avoid depletion of soil nutrients but also to confuse the bad insects that eat the crops. Insects can be very particular about which vegetables they eat and by rotating the crops, the insects population can be reduced and controlled.

One thing about organic vegetables, the appearance of the leafy veggies are rather pale in colour and can look rather unsightly with pock marks where insects has eaten away at the vegetables. Mr Lee assured us the pale colour is because of natural fertilizer, unlike the conventional farming using artificial fertilizer where the vegetables have a deep dark green colour.

Getting an internationally recognized organic certification is not cheap and rather expensive. The local organic certification though cheaper costing about RM11,000 for certification, is not recognized. Not even by Singapore and Hong Kong. Mr Lee is considering to go for the Australian organic certification and it is rather expensive costing about RM40,000! He has no choice if he wants to export the organic vegetables especially when he gets a good bumper harvest. It is sad fact that only about 0.01% of the local population is into eating healthy organic food. One of the issues is that organic food are much more expensive. That's true; sometimes when I pop into Cold Storage, I will wonder which ones to choose, organic vegetables or the cheaper non-organic ones. At least now I know the difference between organic and non-organic vegetables.

Mr Lee supplies their vegetables to JustLife as well to Cold Storage, so if you are looking for organic vegetable produce from Mr Lee's organic farm you can check it out over there. Look out for his company name: Cameron Organic Produce Sdn Bhd or its short form C.O.P.

If you want an agro tourism Malaysia organic farm tour, you may contact Mr Lee for an appointment. With the lecture over, we headed back to Brinchang, back to Mr Lee's shop for a healthy charcoal steamboat! In addition we also booked some organic vegetables for collection to take back on our last day of our Cameron Highlands holidays!

Below is the contact details to C.O.P.:

Cameron Organic Produce Sdn Bhd
MDCH 10, Bandar Baru, 39100 Brinchang,
Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia.
Tel: +605-491 4807, +605-491 5011
Fax: +605-491 5514
Mr Lee Ong Sing +6019-779 6638

Cheers! Jan.

Visit their Cameron Organic Produce Restaurant
Return to Cameron Highlands Farms and Markets
Return to Cameron Highlands sights and attractions
Organic Shop Supply: Rice and Health Food Station

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