Three Malaysian farmers have successfully created a smart farming system to cultivate the world’s most expensive melons in Putrajaya that are priced at RM168 per piece.
Mono Premium Melon is the brainchild of Yeo Chen Swee, Seh Cheng Siang and Mohd Sofian Ali. The trio have figured out the right concoction of nutrients and treatments to grow Japanese Muskmelons.
In Japan, farmers have perfected the art of growing these melons since the last century. They are prized for their taste and precise spherical shape and are sold at high-end shops as luxury items.
“Every single Japanese melon that you see in our farm is almost like an art piece,” the company’s director and co-founder Cheh Siang told CNA.
As the fruit is not native to Malaysia, they had to find ways to grow it under local conditions through trial and error, and their 10 years of experiences and combined expertise in different fields. The trio also travelled to Japanese farms, learning different methods on how to farm the melons in Malaysia’s tropical climate.
Mono’s smart farming system is a combination of an Autopot hydroponics system, a Nido’s Internet of Things (IoT) Controller and other technical practices which allow them to grow the melons with precision.
The IoT controller allows them to monitor and manage how the melons are doing. The temperature, water level, and humidity among others, are all controlled through a smartphone.
“We have to make sure that nutrition, the watering and fertiliser are done very consistently and precisely,” Seh told CNA. He added that before finding the right one, they experimented with 10 different types of Japanese melons.
Apart from the technical and agricultural aspects, the greenhouses also play relaxing music over the speakers and the melons are regularly massaged with a soft cloth or glove – a practice called “tama-fuki” that Japanese farmers use to stimulate the sweetness and precise shape of the melons.
In the future, the company aims to equip interested farmers with the right knowledge and tools to cultivate more farms using Mono’s farming concept and technology to grow these premium melons in Malaysia.
“Mono farm provides a platform and opportunity for the younger generation or newcomers in this industry. So they join the Mono community to know the setup for the farm, planting, technical know-how, up to marketing. It’s a one-step solution for farming,” Seh told the Vulcan Post.
The premium Arus muskmelons are priced at RM168 each, around one third the price the Japanese varieties usually sell for.