By: Dr. Daljit Singh
SERDANG, May 27 – The students from the Fourteenth College, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), took the opportunity to plant long aubergines or known scientifically as ‘Solanum melongena Linn’, at their residential college, when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Loaded with the experience as an agricultural-based university, the Fourteenth College Representative Council, in collaboration with the Student Affairs Division (BHEP), UPM initiated the agricultural activities to generate a side income.
Simultaneously, the involvement of the students in the programme also created opportunities for those who were not from the agricultural-based stream to experience farming, inevitably to some extent changing the students' perceptions of careers in agriculture.
Principal of the Fourteenth College, UPM, Dr. Daljit Singh, said the chosen agricultural concept provides soil and fertiliser suitable for growing long aubergines.
"The Movement Control Order (MCO) limited the conventional agricultural activities, so students from the Fourteenth College seized the planting initiatives that required minimum monitoring by choosing strategic locations around the Fourteenth College yard, which allows the crops to get adequate light, water and moisture," he said.
He added that most of the vacant land around the residential college area could be utilised and that it should be fully utilised by students, especially when agricultural projects promise a lucrative income.
“Armed with a capital of less than RM10, 000, we can easily provide necessary equipment such as the piping system, fertiliser tanks and storage huts.
"The pilot project involved a total of 300 trees cultivated earlier this year. They are now beginning to produce satisfactory results, and 10 - 15 kg of fruits are produced every week and sold to wholesalers," he added.
President of MPK14 and a student from Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the Faculty of Agriculture, UPM, Muhamad Danial Hafiz, said he was one of the students who spent at least an hour or two in a day at the project site doing various tasks.
“A few of my friends and I from the Fourteenth College have taken short-term courses before, and that helped to increase our knowledge on planting aubergines through the fertigation system.
"I just can’t seem to believe in the results achieved. In addition, we could sell the long aubergines at RM7 per kilogram for grade A yields and RM3 for grade B yields," he said.
He also added that students need to be wise in dividing their time between essential tasks as full-time students.
The proceeds of the first sale helped increase the financial capacity of the Student Entrepreneur Fund, and it will be used for the implementation of various activities that are beneficial to the students. - UPM
Date of Input: 08/06/2021 | Updated: 18/06/2021 | hairul_nizam
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