Young chilli entrepreneur earns RM1 million last year

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (left) visiting Ahmad Shafiq's gronong chilli farm at Permanent Food Production Park (TKPM) Rampangi.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, June 14: Eight years ago, Ahmad Shafiq Ahmad Sabirin was a jobless graduate.

As at the end of 2019, the 32-year-old from Lundu earned about RM1.06 millon, thanks to his sheer determination not to fail.

Armed with a degree in Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours (Horticulture and Landscape) in 2012 from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Ahmad Shafiq took up a job at an oil palm plantation for a while.

Ahmad Shafiq sharing his success story

Moving forward with his paper qualification, he decided not to work for other people.

Instead he chose to be an agro farmer and today he is a shining example of a young and successful Sarawakian which he hopes others will emulate.

Spotted in his garden at Permanent Food Production Park (TKPM) in Rampangi yesterday, Ahmad Shafiq shared his story with DayakDaily how he decided to return to Sarawak in 2014.

“To be a farmer is not easy but I also knew that modern agriculture is the in thing. So I explored, dig further and in depth my knowledge on chilli cultivation. Specifically on gronong chilli species,” he said, adding that he loves spicy food.

Gronong chilli from Ahmad Shafiq’s farm.

Ahmad Shafiq began to focus on his project by starting small, with the help from the Sarawak state government.

“I rented a space (one acre) at TKPM and started planting gronong chilli in 2015. Today, we HFR Agro Resources Sdn Bhd have about 4,000 trees with a capacity to produce about 1.5 tonnes per month.

“Currently, our market is only within Kuching areas. We sell a portion of our production to the wholesalers and another portion to retailers or small markets.

“The remaining portion are processed into chilli products such as sauce, paste, sambal and others under the brand Hyefiq,” he said.

Ahmad Shafiq also revealed that today, his company’s monthly income ranges between RM60,000 to RM80,000.

When asked how he got involved with Internet of Things (IOT), he further explained how he saw the opportunity to combine IOT with agriculture and fertility when Sarawak government was promoting it.

“IOT teaches us how to collect and record data, from greenhouse operations to budgeting per month and more. Once you use IOT, it must be constant especially when you do fertility farming.

“With IOT, it also saves a lot in terms of cost and manpower because everything is automatic,” Ahmad Shafiq said, adding that he only has eight staff from farming and all the way to operations.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (right) is impressed with Ahmad Shafiq’s gronong chilli.

He also advised university students to take up similar challenge as he did and he strongly believed that entrepreneurial knowledge needs to be applied to students while they are still on campus so that after graduating, they do not have to rely on white collar jobs alone.

“Agriculture is tough. I struggled in the beginning and success does not come instantly. But do remember that food is essential for everyone regardless of what happens.

“Take for example, the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Movement Control Order and so on which we are facing right now. Many businesses faces bleak future from the Covid-19 impact, but not food item.  Therefore, agriculture is a stable career to venture into,” he asserted.

Ahmad Shafiq’s success is a good achievement for the future of modern agriculture and thus enhances the productivity of agricultural products in Sarawak. –DayakDaily.