Kampung Pela villagers rose above the hardcore poverty line after participating in a rock melon venture last year.
KUALA TERENGGANU (NST): For 15 Kampung Pela villagers here, the key to success was a healthy mindset.
They not only triumphantly rose above the hardcore poverty line after participating in a rock melon venture last year, they also became the first group of farmers in the country to set up their own management company, overseeing production of the fruit.
And to think that the farmers, most of whom are in their 40s, initially ventured into the fertigation project just to supplement their income.
Most of them were in the oil palm industry.
Fertigation is the application of fertilisers, soil amendments, or other water soluble products through an irrigation system.
The fruits are harvested 70 days after the seeds are sown while it is sold statewide to hypermarkets with the help of the Terengganu Agrotech Development Corporation Sdn Bhd, a state government linked company.
They also provide the fruits for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad and AirAsia to be served to its passengers.
Their 10ha site produced RM600,000 worth of rock melons or Cucumis melo last year and they expect to produce close to RM1 million worth of fruits within the next three months, making them the most successful participants out of 229 throughout Terengganu.
Bazli Yahya, 45, manager of Pela Agrotek Management and Services, the company set up by the villagers to run the farm, said the recipe for their fairy tale was keeping an open mind, coupled with good management.
“We seized the opportunity offered to us. While most under the hardcore poverty line take for granted some of the aid and unlike farmers who are techno-phobic, we worked really hard and embraced modern farming.”