JERTEH, Aug 16 — It takes a strong will to turn empty land into a vegetable farm – as proven by four youngsters who have achieved to convert three pieces of abandoned land into farms filled with pearl corns, watermelons and pumpkins.

To start off the project on three rented plots, Mat Zakie Mat Yeh, 40; Nor Ekwan Mamat, 31; Al Iman Mohd Nor and Razin Nur Azri Rujunaidi, aged 29, shared a capital totalling RM17,000 for land maintenance as well as buying seed and fertilisers.

The three 1.4-hectare agricultural land are situated in Kampung Alur Keladi, Kampung Padang Tapong and Kampung Padang Bual, here.

Without having specific education or certificate in agriculture, the four buddies who were previously self-employed began working on their farms since January.

“None of us has any agriculture background, let alone attended any course. We only get the knowledge from old folks in the village who have vast experience in farming and gardening,” Mat Zakie told Bernama when met at their farm in Kampung Ladang Bual in Hulu Besut here.

He said they grow the vegetable and fruits in rotations, whereby the pearl corns would be grown from mid-January to March, pumpkins from May to August and watermelons from September to December.

“I can see that Besut has very fertile land as whatever people want to grow, God-willing, they will grow perfectly. But several plots of land are left unattended. So, I invited my friends to venture into agriculture.

“I aspire to make Besut a hub for growing fruits and vegetables. After all, we are young people who still have a lot of energy and strength to do farm work. So, why not venture into agriculture?” he explained.

The four men can now be proud as their hard work for the past eight months are now beginning to produce good results.

Among others, the yield of about 2,000 pumpkin plants could generate an income of up to RM8,000, as the fruits would be sold at between 50 sen and 60 sen per kilogramme (kg).

“We grew about 50,000 pearl corn trees at one time and we are selling them at RM1 per fruit, while from the 4,000 watermelon plants, the fruits are being sold for at least RM1 per kg,” he said.

He added that the produce are sold to wholesalers for the Terengganu market and other states as well.

Meanwhile, Al Iman said his move to venture into agriculture at a young age was the right decision because he always believed that farming could generate a lot of income.

“My friends who left to work in the city, are now envious of my agricultural pursuit. Some also hoped to start their own farm someday,” he said.

Al Iman said the younger generation like him should not view farming as merely a 3D or difficult, dirty and dangerous job, because agriculture has lots to offer. — Bernama