powered by Agronomic Technology
Soil is a living ecosystem that plays a vital role in food production to sustain humankind. The productivity of soil in terms of providing for plant growth and food production is highly dependent on the profile of its microflora in terms of diversity, beneficial composition and favourable numbers.
Soil microflora refers to a group of soil microorganisms, which primarily constitute the portion of the soil organic matter and some colloidal portion of the soil humus. Five major groups of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa) are part of soil microflora. Some soils are endowed with good microbial profile while others are devoid of this constitution that can limit food production and healthy plant growth. The overuse and misuse of chemical fertilizers from chemical synthesis has upset the dynamics of the soil microflora and its contribution to soil fertility in the long term while the former addressed short term challenges of food production. The current shortage of chemical fertilizers globally and the past adverse effects that if had on long term soil fertility and food production has further exacerbated the problem facing current food security.
Dr Ting Ho supported by Tan Sri Syed Jalaludin and Melissa Ong embarked on an agronomic technology in Kuala Pilah Experimental Field and started his experiment using bioremediation technique (on any soil types) aimed to enhance food production with minimal adverse environmental effect and leading to long term soil fertility and sustainable food production.
The test on soil microflora using metagenomic methods was a great success and its profile continuously improved using composting techniques with indigenous soil microflora. The protocol followed a well-researched and scaled up method using specialized fermentation systems. This highly enriched biofertilizer paves the way for all future food production with minimum residue limits or virtually zero chemicals in the final output of the farm produce.
Biofertilizer, in layman’s language, can be defined as biological products containing living microorganisms that, when applied to seed, plant surfaces, or soil, promote growth by several mechanisms such as increasing the supply of nutrients, increasing root biomass or root area and increasing nutrient uptake capacity of the plant Biofertilizers are microorganisms that add to the nutrient quality of the soil.
Bacteria, fungi, and algae are some of the beneficial microorganisms that help in improving the fertility of the soil. Biofertilizers are classified as: Free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria like Azotobacter, and Rhodospirillum. Examples of bacterial biofertilizers include selected microorganisms such as Rhizobium, Azospirilium, Azotobacter, Phosphobacteria and fungal biofertilizers such as Mycorhiza. Algal Biofertilizers comprise of Blue Green Algae (BGA) and Azolla. A biofertilizer is a fertilizer made up of living microorganisms. When applied to the field it promotes plant growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to the host plant. This helps in increasing the fertility of the soil.
Only when a community begins to care about its soil health and clean safe food, can we ensure a healthy ecosystem embracing soils, plants, humans, and the Planet Earth.
Dr Ting Ho
Soil Scientist & Agronomist
Regenerative Agriculture Specialist
Founder, Back2Nature Enterprise
About Dr Ting Ho
After a successful career as an economist in Bank Negara and the corporate world, Dr Ting Ho turns his attention to the challenges facing humanity on safe food, and its direct impact on public health. He studies how soils destroyed by chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides, can be rescued. Dr Ho’s mission is to restore soil to its natural ecology of microbial richness for crop growth, productivity, and resistance to disease. Sustainable organic farming practices are the necessary foundation for vital nutrition, public health, and self-sufficiency. In addition to Back2Nature Kuala Pilah Farm set up in Dec 2020, Dr Ho collaborates extensively with professors and researchers in Malaysia, across Asia, and in the United States. As the Executive VP of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) Asia, he leads a community of scientific researchers and food industry collaborators dedicated to finding non-toxic farming alternatives.
Kuala Pilah Farm
It is on a piece of 4.5 acres of secondary forest, located about 3 kilometers East of the Kuala Pilah town center on the road linking Kuala Pilah to Bahau. This piece of land had been abandoned and had not been worked on for more than 20 years.
The previous landowners had mostly moved away for Kuala Piah, seeking higher-paying jobs elsewhere.
It is located near the shady part Kg Acheh. Some big 60 to 70 years old fruit trees are still standing there. Sungei Muar Muda is flowing past one end of the land.
At what stage are we now?
It took us a few months to negotiate a 10-year lease with a number of fractional owners. To clear the site, some large trees were cut down and cleaned the soil of debris, and put in some basic infrastructure before work can begin. on 5 December 2020, we launched the Kuala Pilah Farm in conjunction with World Soil Day 2020.
We started with several herbs including Ulam raja and also some fruit trees including Mango, Petai, Nangka, Chempedak, Lemon, Kasturi, rambutan, Ambra, and Durian Belanda were planted. Today, the Farm successfully housed 200+ edible crops.
What is the purpose of the Kuala Pilah Farm?
The purpose of setting up the Kuala Pilah Farm is to conduct field research into regenerative natural farming technologies scientifically. Dr. Ting had conducted small-scale experiments in different locations and the results had been very encouraging. This prompted the setting up of the Kuala Pilah Farm.
Research on the impact of regenerative farming technologies on plant growth, the incidence of plant diseases, pests, yield performance, relative cost comparisons on inputs as well as taste and nutrition contents of the crops that are produced using this agronomic technology.
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Farmers Rescue Project
Lincoln Lee from Rice Inc🌾was awarded a grant from Innovate UK’s Global Cooperation Feasibility Study early this year 2022 to identify agri-tech solutions that could help empower farmers and agri-input companies in Malaysia.
After Lincoln’s field interviews with 150+✨smallholder farmers across Malaysia in early March 2022 and based on the research findings, Lincoln identified one of the best ways to empower farmers out of poverty in Malaysia is to help them connect to agriculture experts.
Subsequently, Lincoln Lee teamed up with Melissa Ong and Dr. Ting Ho, and started a pilot project in June 2022 with the objective ✨to help 10 smallholder farmers in Klang Valley to adopt 🌱regenerative farming practices that extend the lifespan of soil through healthy microbial cultivation and to produce pesticide/chemical free and nutrient-rich crops🥬. This project also aims to increase public awareness of the ✨significant health, environmental and economic benefits of consuming clean, safe, nutritious, and ethically produced foods.💫
These farmers use chemical pesticides heavily and depend on some chemical stimulants to get good produce. The majority of them are down with cancer. Chemical pesticides are costly too for them. These are the produce that feeds the average people - lower and mid-income demographic in Klang valley, they supply to wet markets and restaurants via whole sellers. The average income people won’t opt for the produce from high-tech farming such as hydroponic etc. They won’t buy vegetables from supermarket shelves and won’t buy costly vegetables such as kale, lettuce, butterhead, etc that we see in supermarkets.
We were saddened by the state of their farms and some set their vegetable sites using marginalized land next to palm oil estates where the soils are heavily injected with chemical substances. Their know-how and practices are passed down thru generations and the farms are their livelihoods. This pilot project is a true eye-opener for the farmers. We set up the pilot site in the middle of their farms and showed them step-by-step the right way of producing vegetables and not dependent upon chemical pesticides and fertilizers. We also taught them the right technique of water and pest management systems as well as germination of seedings. The crops🥬 are now maturing and growing healthily and free of chemical pesticides🌟. This has proven the regenerative farming system is the way forward to producing good food✨. We are excited by the success🌈and the remarkable result 👍🏻showed in the pilot field. The 1st batch harvest🥬will be ready for delivery on 22 July 2022.
After the pilot project, we plan to widen our scope to gradually help other farmers in other states across Malaysia.
R&D - Red and Black Rice
Serious issue with soil nutrition
R&D - Synthetic versus Natural
Make your mark !
Back2Nature Farm was formed with a goal; to maximize the transformative potential of natural farming. To achieve this, we bring nature concepts to life through real-world, outdoor experiences. Our Farm Program encourages exploration, critical thinking and teamwork as participants learn how to collaboratively grow, harvest, and eat their own healthy foods. We give them the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and the importance of good nutrition. You can help make a difference right now. The support we receive is a huge driver of the hard work we do for the community.
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