Our Organic Rice Farm is situated in a remote area 60 kilometres north-east of Alor Setar, the capital city of Kedah, Malaysia. It is a community-oriented project led by a military retiree, Captain, who started this effort since 2008. Currently the project is conducted on a 9.464 hectares of land. This farm lies in the heart of a quiet and quaint Malay village, surrounded by green hills and lush vegetation, making it an ideal spot for organic and sustainable rice cultivation. Water is sourced from a clean river that flows just next to the farm. Our farm practices SRI, or SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION which allows all year round cultivation of rice. Compared to the pesticide laden conventional rice method, SRI holds plenty of benefits. To name a few, it is pesticide and chemical free, uses less seeds for higher yield amount and also minimizes the use of water. This project is CERTIFIED ORGANIC by Malaysian and International organic bodies since 2014, and currently is the ONLY certified organic rice producer in Malaysia. To minimize dependencies on external farming inputs, we make our own organic fertilizer and natural effective microbes on the farm, and it is used intensively during cultivation. Apart from rice planting, the farm also organizes eco-education tourism, with an aim to create a holistic learning centre. Farm often receives educational visits from local schools, universities and international research centres as the farm encourages ideas exchange and knowledge sharing to always improve our methods and results.The farm also has two beautiful and flourishing vegetable plots and some goats that are kept in open field.
, the MINIMUM stay on our organic rice farm is THREE WEEKS or preferrably ONE MONTH. This is because Zakaria found that two weeks is a little short for him and the volunteers to share and learn from each other in a more profound way.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help with Computers / internet
Volunteers will have a good chance to learn and explore the works of maintaining an organic rice plantation. Volunteers will be directly involved in the whole process of organic rice cultivation (planting, keeping the crops healthy, making and using natural fertilizer, making and using natural microbes, harvesting, and packaging), and will have a great time adapting to communal living in a traditional Malay style. The village around the farm still maintains a traditional Malay lifestyle. Exploring the area by foot and getting to know the locals and their tradition is a very interesting activities, and makes for a richer travelling experience. People are really friendly around this area, and very warm to travellers. The culture of sharing is still important here, and the locals often come and help on the paddy fields too, as a symbol of community strength. If you come to volunteer during fruit season (July - Nov), there are plenty of local fruit trees all over the village that can be picked and enjoyed for free, and locals usually give it away in exchange for your generous smile. There are also few trekking trails in the forest/hills surrounding the farm. Volunteers can always take their time off to explore the surrounding natural that is still in pristine and premier state near the farm. Just be a little careful as there are also many venomous insects and snakes, like in all tropical forest. With some precaution, this can be a very fun, safe and educational activity to do around the farm. On days off, for exploring the nearby lake, with hike in the jungle and possibly a rest in some natural hot springs, it would be asked for a small contribution of RM50 to cover costs.
Volunteers are required to help mainly with :
rice cultivation work
preparing ingredients and making organic fertilizer / effective microbes
feeding and cleaning goats and goat pen
construction with natural materials such as bamboo, wood, palm leaves and mud\
all other farm chores (tool cleaning, seed preparation, general upkeeping tasks)
for MAXIMUM 4-5 hours a day and 6 days a week. Normally work starts at 9 am to 12 mid day, then everyone take rest as the sun is usually intense at this point of the day. Volunteers are encouraged to continue again at 5pm until 6pm. Volunteering tasks varies from day to day, depending on the climate, weather and ongoing projects. Depending on the activities, volunteers can schedule their day to start earlier at 7am and finish at noon. This way, volunteer can have another half of the day for themselves. This time can be use to integrate with the locals or explore the surrounding areas.
Rice farming is quite a rigorous task, and it is done on a muddy field. Depending on the phases of cultivation, rice farming can be hard. Work like preparing the plot, planting, weeding, and harvesting often takes a good amount of energy and time, but it is also fun and very educational. It can make for a very good experience. :) Apart from this, the farm always welcome ideas to make the place better. For example, if you are good with bamboo construction or any sustainable building methods, you are more than welcome to propose your ideas. This also applies to vegetable gardening and animal husbandry.
The MINIMUM duration of stay is THREE WEEKS or preferably ONE MONTH. Volunteers can stay as long as they want if it suits both parties.
At this point, there are few nice bamboo huts (refer photo) available for volunteers. Each bamboo hut can fit 2-3 person, and is equipped with electricity, mosquito net, fan and toilet/bathroom. Pillows and mattresses with sheets are available in each hut. There is also a bigger communal toilet that is easily accesible from each huts, and is also welcomed to be use by volunteers. Volunteers can wash their clothes using the laundry machine at Captain's house for RM2/wash. Food is prepared communally in the communal kitchen. The kitchen is complete, with gas cooking stove, storage, pots and pans, cups and cutleries. Volunteers can always help themselves to make drinks or snacks anytime in between meals. Things that are NOT provided: mosquito repellent, refrigerator, hats and used clothes for work.
The closest small town to our Organic Rice Farm is called Belantik. It is a small and remote town, so there is no bus that goes directly here. It is accesible by other means of transportation listed below.
From any cities in Malaysia - take train / bus / plane to ALOR SETAR. In the city, head to SHAHAB PERDANA BUS TERMINAL and look for a bus that runs to SIK. When you arrive in SIK , the farm team members will pick you up. Volunteers can also take a taxi from SIK to BELANTIK, which usually cost around 60 RM (15 USD) if they dont mind paying. SIK town is approximately 40-50 minutes from the farm.
From PENANG - take a bus or train from Butterworth station to SUNGAI PETANI (bus 1hr 30mins, train 30mins). In SUNGAI PETANI, you can take another bus to SIK town (about 1hr 30mins).
From Thailand via land border crossing - if you are coming from Thailand via land, there are two border crossing that can lead you to BELANTIK town. If you are crossing from BUKIT KAYU HITAM , take a bus / van at the border to ALOR SETAR. In the city, head to SHAHAB PERDANA BUS TERMINAL and look for a bus that run to SIK where the farm team members will pick you up. Volunteers can also take a taxi from SIK to BELANTIK, which usually cost around 60 RM (15 USD) if they dont mind paying. SIK town is approximately 40-50 minutes from the farm. If you are coming from DURIAN BURUNG border crossing, tell the van driver to drop you at BELANTIK. The van or bus usually passes the one street town from the border. Ask the driver to stop at BURAQ OIL Station in BELANTIK. When you arrive there, its a short walk to the farm.
Please note that for any pick up and drop off to any cities with the exclusion of Sik (Alor Setar, Kuala Kedah, Butterworth, Sungai Petani, Gurun), the farm might ask for a contribution of RM50 to cover fuel costs.
Note : this listing is made by a volunteer, on behalf of the owner of this farm. I jumped at the chance of helping him to open up the farm for other volunter because being a volunteer myself (i went there few times), I truly see this place as an opportunity to really learn about organic rice cultivation and the lifestyle of a remote and deep Malay village. He is a great man to be around, generous, and only have things to give. He is always willing to listen to your questions and needs. Often he do free classes about organic rice farming at night. Villagers around the farm are very kind too, always smiling and generous. The time I spent helping him and all the other farmers there really has given me so much appreciation, and enriches me in many ways. The accomodation is really comfortable, and the surrounding is really peaceful and quaint.
Another thing to note : There is a fee of RM 20 ( approx Euro 4,20 ) a day for each volunteer. This is for 3 complete meals a day + all the drinks and snacks you can make in the communal kitchen. The fee collected in solely for the owner to buy food ingredients, and you will be able to see this. This fee is totally reasonable, with what I have experienced volunteering there. Each meal is in good portion and are made with fresh ingredients. (To give an idea of comparison, each meal in Malaysia is approximately RM 6 - RM 7 ( Euro 1.50), if you eat in diners or average restaurants)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.
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