When ducks do more than look cute: A veteran eco-warrior educates Malaysian youth on climate change

Tan Mei Zi

Prof Anthony Wong is a seasoned environmentalist with a background in hotel management and sustainable tourism. — Pictures by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — With the spectre of global warming looming above our heads, educating the next generation to be eco-friendly is more important than ever.

Prof Anthony Wong is making it his mission to do just that with a green thumb and a love for Mother Nature as his main tools.

Frangipani Organic Farm, located in the leafy forests of Gombak, is a project pioneered by the 63-year-old where plants and livestock flourish without the need for pesticides or antibiotics.

The farm will serve as an educational hub targeted at students, farmers, and academics as well as a place for families to indulge in fun weekend activities.

Wong hopes that more young people will be encouraged to become agricultural entrepreneurs once they experience Frangipani Organic Farm firsthand.

He has already hosted a number of workshops with organisations like EcoKnights to raise awareness of sustainable practices in the industry.

“I want to educate young people on the value of forests. Once they fall in love with nature, they will protect the environment and that’s my objective.

“We should be creating more jobs through initiatives like organic farming instead of relying solely on resources like palm oil,” Wong told Malay Mail.

Wong explaining the many uses of black soldier fly larvae on a farm.

Through a self-sustaining system called Integrated Organic Farming, the farm is able to prevent waste from ending up in landfills or polluting the waterways.

Black soldier fly larvae are bred to eat up food waste collected onsite and from nearby restaurants and wet markets before becoming protein-rich food for livestock.

Wastewater is treated using biological filters like plants, microbes, and fungi which break down pollutants in a process known as bioremediation.

While it might not look like it, the farm’s free-range ducks also play an important role by swimming and playing around in the paddy fields.

Their waste helps fertilise the crops and an appetite for insects and a tendency to stamp out weeds with their flippers make them a reliable biopesticide.

Wong has been cultivating the area since 1991, dividing time between his role as Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa managing director and the farm to spread his eco-friendly message to a wider audience.

Ducks help fertilise the crops with their waste and take care of pests by eating them.

By hosting workshops at Frangipani Organic Farm, the long-time environmentalist hopes to improve consumer awareness on organic produce and encourage farmers to make the switch to going pesticide-free.

Wong added that the benefits reaped from organic farming are not only physical but fiscal as well.

By employing agricultural methods like rice intensification, he’s able to double his yield and reduce costs by using biopesticides in place of chemicals.

“Organic farming is rewarding as long as you’re willing to put in the extra effort and live on the farm yourself to make it work.

“A broiler chicken is raised in a tiny cage and ready for slaughter in about 30 days, but organic, free-range chickens are raised for four to five months and require more space.

“That’s why organic produce costs a little more at supermarkets, but it’s definitely better for the environment and our bodies,” said Wong.

The farm’s idyllic atmosphere makes it ideal for a weekend visit with the family.

The Frangipani Organic Farm team is currently gearing up for its official opening on July 27.

Visitors can get up and close with the farm animals, take part in some fishing, and learn more about healthy cooking and organic farming through a series of workshops once the farm opens its gates to the public.

Tours can accommodate up to 30 people at a time with remaining slots available at 1pm and 3pm for the July 27 opening.

To make a booking, call +6017-6713134 or visit Frangipani Organic Farm’s Facebook page for more information.

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