Empowering Community Income Diversification through Sustainable Smart Farming by Academia Resources
CommunitySeberang Perai City Council
UniversityUniversiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
ProgramUniversiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
Case TypePartnership Stories
RegionAsia, Global, Malaysia
Sustainable Development Goals1 No Poverty, 10 Reduced Inequalities, 2 Zero Hunger, 4 Quality Education, 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
Even though the State of Penang is experiencing urban expansion, a large part of the state has desakota characteristics (urban and agricultural forms of land use coexist). In the town of Permatang Pauh, Seberang Perai District, there are 4,070 hectares of agricultural land, with an estimated 2,000 farmers. Many of these farmers engage in wet-rice farming. Unfortunately, inefficient agricultural waste management increases the threat to the environment and the livelihood of the people as most farmers dispose of their wastes through either landfill or open-air incineration. The Seberang Perai City Council would like to improve the livelihood of the people and reduce the negative externalities to the environment.
Together with Urbanest Sendirian Berhad (a public limited company), the City Council supported the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Sultan Idris Education University) in establishing the Green Education Centre to promote holistic and sustainable technologies for agriculture and composting. The center comprises state-of-the-art technologies for agriculture and composting. It aims to be an active hub for education, research, commercialization, and eco-tourism and is open to the community, schools, and national and international industries.
From October 2021 to February 2022, Green Education Centre designed a farmer-youth capacity building-training program to empower the local farmers to increase their incomes via the adoption of smart and sustainable farming techniques. Local participants of this program will be able to apply the knowledge gained to develop and establish their own community farms. It will be an advantage to them to build family-owned land or underutilized land for food production. This is in line with the Penang Green 2030 Agenda. The agenda envisions the creation of 100 urban farm hubs by 2030.
Through recent application of the EPIC Model to their effort, the program expanded to include lecturers and students. Students will have the chance to engage in smart farming as well as use what they learn in class to support the communities. Being trained in class including System Analysis and Design, and Human-Computer Interaction, students can use their creative skills to design, shoot, and edit interactive videos to support future learning of the farmers in Seberang Perai. Similarly, students are involved in designing and developing websites and online marketing for the initiative.
The new program begins and brings benefit to all leading to plans for expansion.
So far, 42 farmers-youth, 14 students (4 internships) from four different courses in the Faculty of Creative Arts, Computing and Creative Industries, 6 professors from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, 9 staff from Seberang Perai City Council, and 3 agronomies from Urbanest Sendirian Berhad engaged in this program. Forty farmers also participated in the Rapid Need Analysis (RNA) to identify their needs which were used to design the capacity-building program. The training involved 100% on-site hands-on training and one virtual conference launched by the Mayor of Seberang Perai City Council.
Following the six months program, 97.5% of the participants rated the program with 4 and 5 stars out of 5. All of the participants agreed the program has benefitted them and they would apply the knowledge gained from the training. All the participants also agreed the methods learned will help in increasing their income.
Both the City Council and the University are keen on maintaining and expanding the program to include other farming activities in the near future in order to satisfy the Penang Green 2030 Agenda.
Partnership Contact Information
Seberang Perai City Council Contact
Mr. Chew Eng Seng
Local Agenda 21 Officer
Seberang Perai City Council