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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Malaysian state converts leftovers into fertilizer

Farmers across the region benefit from this recycled resource, enriching their fields and fostering a circular agricultural system.

In a bid to combat the staggering amount of food wastage, particularly during the sacred month of Ramadan, Malaysia’s central state of Pahang has embarked on a pioneering initiative. Outside mosques in the heart of Kuantan, families gather every evening to break their fast, feasting on local delicacies. However, the remnants of these meals no longer contribute to landfill overflow, thanks to a remarkable solution – a mobile machine that converts food scraps into organic fertilizer.

Modest Initiative with Significant Impact

The project, spearheaded by the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation, commenced as a pilot last year and has since gained traction. Sharudin Hamid, the state director, notes the machine’s capacity to process 25 kilograms of scraps daily, emphasizing its role in bolstering awareness regarding food wastage. While this amount may seem modest compared to the nation’s colossal daily waste output, which surpasses 13,000 tonnes, it signifies a step towards a more sustainable future.

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From Scraps to Soil Enrichment

Upon disposal into the machine, food scraps undergo a 48-hour transformation process. Mixed with rice husks and sawdust, the resulting brownish-colored waste emerges as packaged organic fertilizer. This eco-friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers not only mitigates waste but also nourishes crops. Farmers across the region benefit from this recycled resource, enriching their fields and fostering a circular agricultural system.

Natural Cycle of Sustainability

Abdul Shukor Mohamad Salleh, a patron at the Ramadan food market in Kuantan, underscores the cyclical nature of the initiative. He highlights how crops grown with the organic fertilizer can eventually become food, perpetuating the cycle of waste reduction and agricultural sustainability. This integrated approach resonates with Malaysia’s broader environmental conservation efforts, fostering a culture of responsibility towards the planet.

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For farmers like Zulyna Mohamed Nordin, the impact of the initiative transcends environmental benefits. By incorporating organic liquid fertilizer derived from recycled food waste into her crops, Zulyna witnesses tangible improvements in yield and quality. Free from costly chemical inputs since adopting this natural alternative, her vegetables thrive, reflecting the efficacy of organic farming practices in boosting agricultural productivity.