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Fertigated Chilli Entrepreneurs

A husband and wife’s tenacity in looking for ideas to generate additional income during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has borne fruit when they successfully carried out a fertigated (injection of fertilizers) red chilli planting project on their family’s heritage land.

The couple is also confident that the farming business has the potential to generate good income with hard work.

Jaslee Harun, 46, and Mariana Ariffin, 44, got the idea to operate the project after advice from their sibling who previously operated the red chilli plantation.

According to Jaslee, they’ve utilised a capital of RM40,000 to plant around 2,500 red chilli plants using the fertigation method on their two-acre land in Tronoh Mines.

“We started the project on January 11 this year and the chilli plants started yielding results after 70 days,” he told Ipoh Echo recently.

He added that Mariana took an online course and consulted with the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) regarding related matters before starting the project to ensure that it goes smoothly.

“For these chillies, we used the Kulai 461 red chilli seeds obtained from Kampung Gajah and they were wholly planted on top of processed coconut husks due to the husks’ neutral properties. The husks are also able to last for five years and reduce risks of crop damages.

“Around 4,000 litres of water and fertilisers are channeled to these plants daily and the plants are able to reach a height of up to two metres at a time.

“The chillies can reach eight inches long and the harvested crops are then classified into grades A, B and C,” he explained.

Jaslee also stated that they had harvested twice so far. However, they could harvest at least five times in the duration of a month at the lowest rate.

“In the course of two-time harvesting, we were able to obtain 200kg of red chillies, which we will then sell to our customers around Kampar and eatery operators,” she elaborated, citing that a polybag could produce two to three kg of chillies at one time.

Meanwhile, Mariana told Ipoh Echo that in the nearly three-month project, they faced lots of obstacles, especially when natural disasters striked or diseases attacked the plants.

“Recently, 200 plants collapsed due to thunderstorms. Besides that, issues of pests and diseases also surfaced, but we overcame them well,” she said, adding that the price of red chillies depends on current market prices.

On their long-term plans, Mariana shared that they might undertake a brinjal plantation project in the future.

“We still have two more acres of land yet to be cultivated. We’ll most probably be planting brinjal there,” she opined. She also sells pickled chillies at RM7 per box.

Those interested in getting fresh red chilli supplies from the couple may contact via WhatsApp numbers 012 539 1844 or 017 513 6559.

Rosli Mansor

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