It was a sizzling, sizzling morning after we drove as much as Presint 19 in Putrajaya. We weren’t enthused by the warmth, however it was this similar warmth that the premium Arus muskmelons rising at Mono Premium Melon (Mono) thrived on.
In our climate, as much as 3-4 cycles of this melon could be grown, a a lot bigger yield than what Japanese farmers can get with their single season of summer season.
However climate alone can’t develop a melon, so the three skilled co-founders behind Mono—Yeo Chen Swee, Seh Cheng Siang, and Mohd Sofian bin Ali—put their heads collectively to provide you with a wise farming system.
We have been there for a farm tour and to reap our personal RM168 melon.
200 slots have been opened for Mono’s first public batch harvesting, so it may very well be assumed that for this harvest, they’ve already made simply over RM33k in income.
Nevertheless, this solely touches the floor of Mono’s precise mission and income technique.
Precision Farming With Japanese Strategies
For customers, after all these Japanese melons are the star of the present. However few get to know and admire the care and know-how that goes into rising each.
Mono’s IoT (Web of Issues) enabled farm permits them to conduct precision farming, which these Arus muskmelons want. “No extra agak-agak,” Seh commented, referring to extra relaxed farming strategies used to develop common melons.
With the IoT setup, the crew can remotely monitor the standing of each rising melon on their smartphones. They’ll modify the quantity of vitamins or water a plant wants, change the fertiliser composition, and even monitor the greenhouse’s temperature.
Mono additionally calls it a plant-driven system, whereby the vegetation determine for themselves after they require feeding, and sensible valves within the Autopots they develop in will facilitate the movement from a big tank.
On high of vitamin, there’s stress-free music performed on the greenhouse for the vegetation’ development (Japanese farmers use this system too). Rising melons are polished and massaged weekly with a Nexcare facial glove to stimulate sweetness and to end in a extra “3D” netting on the floor.
We care for [the melons’] well being, and they’ll care for our pocket.
Yeo Chen Swee, co-founder of Mono.
Even with the small print that go into precision farming, the result could be nonetheless unpredictable and there’s no 100% assure for the crops. As a result of climate situations, sudden rotting, and different uncontrollable components, the melons are in danger up to date they’re harvested.
The benefit that Mono has is that the groundwork to cut back these dangers have been performed with their 15+ years of melon-farming expertise.
With the IoT app, monitoring and making changes as soon as a day is sufficient. Yeo added, “Really, we are able to pre-set for the entire month or week, even as much as one cycle. This cuts down on loads of human error, as a result of as soon as the injury is completed, it’s very tough to get well.”
With little room for error, why develop this specific melon?
“[We chose this seed] as a result of that is probably the most tough to plant, however we wish to problem it. We’ve the arrogance, the instruments, that’s why we selected the toughest simply to show that it’s potential,” Seh stated.
Greater than proving it to themselves, they needed to set an instance for different Malaysian farmers.
Sharing The Fruits Of Their Labour
Within the huge image, Mono needs to equip farmers with the precise information and know-how to develop these premium and uncommon melons in Malaysia.
“That is the principle goal of Mono farms: we’ve a platform the place we’re establishing our Mono farms idea, and not too long ago, we really launched an funding startup programme for small farmers,” Seh revealed.
What this implies is that farmers with 1,200 sq ft of land can rent Mono to arrange their very own IoT enabled farm and develop 400 premium melons in a cycle.
The kind of land doesn’t matter both, because the melons are grown in Autopots with a soilless medium. You possibly can have them in your entrance porch and even your roof.
A setup prices about RM68k, with the identical monitoring system that Mono is utilizing. “We will arrange in a single week’s time, after that, you can begin planting the subsequent day. In 3 months, you’ll produce the primary batch of Japanese melons,” Seh stated.
Seeds and fertiliser come at a separate value, with the seeds costing RM3 every and offered solely by Mono. Mono’s help doesn’t cease there although, as they’ll additionally assist monitor the wellness of your vegetation via the IoT system and CCTVS.
If Mono’s technique works as deliberate, we’ll be seeing extra farms replicating the Mono farm idea. The crew has already put within the exhausting work of discovering options that convey outcomes, and are giving others an opportunity to realize the identical high quality with out all of the challenges that include it.
“Mono farm [provides] a platform and alternative for the youthful technology or newcomers on this business. In order that they be part of the Mono neighborhood [to know the] setup for the farm, planting, technical know-how, as much as advertising and marketing. It’s a one-stop answer for farming,” Seh stated.
For this reason the melon is solely a beginning product in Mono’s plans, the true enterprise mannequin right here is to domesticate extra farms utilising the Mono farm idea, beginning with Arus muskmelons.
Nevertheless, Mono gained’t work as a intermediary. The farms are inspired to promote their very own fruits with their very own branding so as to reduce the provision chain shorter, which is one other certainly one of Mono’s objectives.
With a shorter provide chain, they’ll higher educate finish customers on the work that went into rising the fruit and how you can correctly devour and admire it.
For instance, we learnt through the farm tour about how the melon modifications in texture, sweetness, juiciness, and aroma from the primary to the sixth day after harvest.
Not like the frequent notion that greater is best, there’s no grading system for Mono’s melons. Mono has standardised their harvest measurement to 1.4-1.8kg per melon, however even with some smaller or greater melons, they’re meant to style the identical.
Being Sustainable And Scalable
To be on this business long-term, the Mono crew believes that sustainable farming begins from the farmers first making a revenue. Then solely can farmers take into consideration sustainability in different types to guard the setting, scale back wastage, and extra.
Seh shared some examples for the way farmers can market their melons:
- Doing a pick-and-harvest open day, just like the farm tour we skilled.
- Promoting them via e-commerce.
- Permitting households to “undertake” a melon plant from the beginning all the best way till it’s harvested for his or her consumption.
By way of scalability, when new farmers are extra assured after the success of their small melon farm, Mono can help in increasing the farm to extend melon crop manufacturing.
Mono plans to scale by finally bringing in different premium melon species that aren’t frequent in Malaysia. By educating present or new farmers of their Mono neighborhood to additionally develop these new melons, they can also enhance their income supply.
We introduced up that certainly one of our mother and father has a farm in Bukit Beruntung with their very own greens and fruits. According to their mission of rising extra native farmers for this Japanese melon, they quipped, “We [have brought] Japan to Putrajaya, we are able to convey Putrajaya to Bukit Beruntung.”
- You possibly can be taught extra about Mono Premium Melon here.
- You possibly can learn our different agritech items here.
All Picture Credit: Vulcan Put up