Accidental Farmer - An ongoing Entrepreneur Journey (albridged)
by Lim Hong Zhuang
I've been asked to share this for sometime and well, some folks might know i've been on the roads up and down malaysia quite a fair bit since last year in search of greener pastures and also to develop a test plot for Jatropha as an alternative source for biodiesel. Well thankfully the economic downturn justified the bold move to embark of this entrepreneur journey.
And while i am still on this journey, here's what happened. I acquired a company in Malaysia so that we can jumpstart on having some acerage to plant. Having said that we've thus far acquired 30 Hectares of land. For the laymen, 1 Ha is about the size of one football field. So i am planting of 30 football fields. The initial project was to plant Jatropha (go google it if this is seriously the first time you come across this term) and use our 30 Ha plot to supplement a bigger commercial plantation. To cut the long story short, right now we've utilized the land for Jatropha (our biodiesel dream) and more importantly for organic farming. It is increasingly heartening to see the trees bearing fruits and yourself plucking the damn corn out of their stalks and ending up on my dinner table or my friend's dinner tables.
As always, God has been blessing the journey thus far and while we've met with various problems (diseases, lousy middlemen, kenna cheated by middlemen, kenna smack by government officials, giving polis kopi money, cows, more cows) the Lord has been gracious to let myself learn first hand the lessons on hindsight and not to repeat the same mistakes again. He has blessed me with a crew (2nd to none) that i can dare say if you give these folks 10,000Ha or 100,000Ha they will still be as hardworking and keen on learning.
While the world goes into turmoil over this financial tsunami, i feel it was a blessing in disguise that my team and i were thrown in the deep end of the pool if i may say. 3 years ago in 2005, i had a dream of becoming the next banker in Shenton Way working my way up this ladder prescribed for so many Singaporeans. Never had i dreamt that i would get out of Singapore to foreign lands to develop food and energy. Never had i dreamt that i will do it when i am still an undergrad. My team and i started from 0, we didnt know how to drive a tractor much so how much water you need for the plants. We didnt know how to handle cows and we always thought they are such nice creatures gentle and meek (ppppfffffffffftttttttttttt). However i must say, the spirit keeps on going. We learn, we try new things we provide a solution to the issues we face. We took them head on. And while we were crossed, double cross time and time again, we learn to stand on our two feet never wavering and continuing on this entrepreneurial journey.
Reflecting on the Lord's goodness, i sacrificed for the good of things that are to me today and for more things to come. I lost a relationship, i suffered loss of friends due to neglect, my Subaru is not it the tippest of shape and the mats are constantly dirty, we spent a hell load of cash and my grades dropped frm second upper to God knows where now. And while sometimes i do wonder where are we going tomorrow i know it is already planned and my Lord knows best. I am having fun, i love the challenge of waking up every day thinking how shall i sell my vegetables and how shall i produce crude oils.
Today LX Holdings has expanded into Sarawak with LX ENERGY SDN BHD - they do their stuff in renewable fuels and doing a great job setting up and helping communities with Jatropha, closer back home, the AVA has approved an import and export license for Fresh fruits and vegetables meaning consumers in Singapore will be seeing more of our organic foods LX ORGANICS in the coming of months. We are already producing produce for export. In 2009 we will produce Crude Oils for the energy market.
While i finish my studies come summer 2009, as i quote president elect Obama "i have never been so hopeful", while Obama is hopeful for America, i am hopeful for Asia and for this entrepreneur journey i was thrown into. So if your household can and are able to support LX ORGANICS, i will be please to personally send it to your doorsteps FOC. The journey has barely begun and while we're not Virgin Group or people like Sime Darby - we will get there.