Towards Sustainability: Saving The Environment 1 Farmer At A Time
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During the lockdown due to Covid-19, Uncle Muning, a 70 year old farmer who lived alone in Kampung Danu, was unable to sell his harvest. After hearing about his plight, we were motivated to lend him a helping hand and bought whatever products he harvested at a higher price compared to the price sold to a middleman. Although the amount may not be much to most of us, for him, it was the difference between putting food on the table and starving. We have now included Uncle Muning in our Farmer Adoption Project and he no longer has to struggle to find a platform to sell his crops.
His words “Terima kasih” has really moved us and motivated us to keep striving to address the social and environmental concerns in the community.
The Social Concerns: There are many rural farmers like Uncle Muning which were unable to sell their crops at a reasonable price. Rural farmers plant at far rural sites and do not have any transportation hence they can only rely on middlemen to sell their crops and earn a low margin. The livelihood of approximately 26.7% of the world population is dependent on farming activities!
The Environmental Concerns: It was found that 98.6% of farmers are practicing conventional farming that utilised unsustainable practices like open burning to dispose agricultural waste. However, the release of harmful gas from the burning of agricultural waste is not the only concern. 15,000 tons of food waste is being produced every day in Malaysia. More than 40% of the wastes in landfills are organic waste like biodegradable plastic, food waste, paper waste and etc. Organic wastes which are being buried into non-sanitary landfill also produce methane, a strong greenhouse gas that can fasten global warming.
WormingUp is a social enterprise accredited by the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) and Ministry of Finance Malaysia (MoF) with the aim to:
1. Improve rural farmer’s livelihood through education on sustainable farming and helping them to market their produces.
2. Manage biodegradable waste to avoid improper degradation which would bring negative impact to the environment.
What have we done so far?
Since inception in 2015, we have diverted 1,062,188kg of organic waste from the landfill and have worked with 6 local authorities and 37 stakeholders and partners. We have also engaged with more than 100 rural farmers, reached out to 2,095 people on sustainable waste management practices and involved more than 15 villages in our projects.
We are crowdfunding to kick start and expand our projects to continue resolving the social and environmental concerns stated.
Our approach to the social concerns:
Farmer Adoption Project
This project provides an informational website that connects rural farmers directly to consumers, thus removing the middlemen. Adoption refers to all harvest produced by the rural farmers will be secured and sold to the consumer. Our target is to improve rural farmers livelihood and to increase their income level to RM1,800 per month. We have started piloting this project with 50 farmers (including Uncle Muning) from 15 villages.
A retail space for small scale farmers to help them earn better margins on their products.
Our approach to the environmental concerns:
Organic Waste Upcycling Learning Centre
This involves an entomological process that uses insect farming (black soldier fly) as a means for organic waste disposal to avoid landfilling. 1kg of black soldier fly can finish up to 1kg of food waste in a day! Training is also provided to commercial farms or sites to increase the scale of the impact.
Sustainable Farming School
This initiative aims to help rural farmers to farm sustainably by promoting composting methods that can convert waste to organic fertilizers, reduce the usage of harmful chemicals and increase production of produces.
Surplus Processing Training Hub
This center will be open to all rural farmers and communities in need that is keen to learn traditional food preservation methods to convert unsold and good in condition vegetables and fruits into shelf-stable products. This would reduce food waste from going to landfills and also transfer the traditional preservation knowledge to local communities.
Our Social Goal: To benefit 125 farmers and increase their income to RM1,800 per month in the next 12 months.
Our Environmental Goal: To prevent 1,068,500kg of organic waste from going to the landfill, reduce 81,185kg of carbon dioxide emission and to get 10 premises to adopt Green Policy in the next 12 months.
After the funding to kick start and expand the projects, it would be self-sustainable through the model implemented and would continue to help more farmers and reduce the amount of organic waste to landfills even after the initial 12 months.
Note: We are fundraising an additional RM1,400 to cover the payment gateway fee for our target of RM200,000
WormingUp’s efforts support Responsible Consumption and Production – to promote a sustainable supply chain.
This is a solution for the management of organic waste and the impending global food shortage crisis. Through insect farming, WormingUp closes the gap and links both of these global concerns. Whilst we are now aware of the potential presented through sustainable farming for rural farmers to enhance the market value of their produces, this is merely the beginning and WormingUp aspires to fully maximize it through their continuous efforts and actions.
Let’s get together for our community and support the brilliant initiatives today!
If you would like to find out more about WormingUp projects, please contact [email protected]
WormingUp is an accredited social enterprise based in Kuching Sarawak, founded in 2015. WormingUp aims to create a circular economy within the food supply chain where food waste contributes directly to the production of wholly organic foods ensuring the sustainability of our food source whilst ensuring the environment is looked after in the process.
Alliance Islamic Bank SocioBiz is a donation crowdfunding platform that aims to empower financially disadvantaged communities through entrepreneurship