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Kemari Farm, a Brunei-based farming start-up company that was awarded a $10K grant from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Brunei in November 2019, is on a mission to encourage more of the country’s youths to take up farming.

Why Farming?

According to the CEO of Kemari Farm, farming is important for a few reasons – food security being the most important one.

“Brunei Darussalam is a country that is still reliant on imports. We here at Kemari Farm believe that our youths can help the Sultanate be a self-sufficient country. We also want to show other youths that farming can be a viable career,” said Mohd Hafizuddin bin Hj Awg Damit, 28.

“Agriculture has huge potential of being a thriving industry and we want to do our part by developing it further,” he added. “Brunei needs to diversify its economy and we believe that agriculture can and will bring a lot of money to the country.”

(Photos courtesy of SCB Brunei & Kemari Farm)

From an environmental standpoint, Mohd Hafizuddin said, “Once we are a self-sufficient country and when people start buying more locally grown produce, it will help reduce our carbon footprint. People will also be getting the freshest produce straight from the farm to their table.”

SCB Visits Kemari Farm

On July 8, 2020, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Brunei, Pengiran Aki Ismasufian bin Pengiran Haji Ibrahim, and the bank’s management team made a visit to Kemari Farm.

Since winning the $10K grant, Kemari Farm has been making great progress with guidance from the Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT), a registered Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in Brunei that aims to eradicate poverty in sustainable and creative ways under the leadership of SCOT Chairman & Founder, Anwar Mohammad.

What’s interesting to note is that Kemari Farm has been able to produce an average of 70kg of fresh produce, which are supplied to local SMEs in the F&B industry on a weekly basis.

All this was made possible from the hydroponics farm that was built using the awarded $10K grant that was awarded to Kemari Farm during the 4th SCOT Youth Against Poverty (YAP) programme last November.

(From L-R) CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Brunei, Pengiran Aki Ismasufian bin Pengiran Haji Ibrahim; Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT) Chairman & Founder; and CEO of Kemari Farm, Mohd Hafizuddin bin Hj Awg Damit (Photo: Neue)

A Pleasant Surprise

What’s interesting to note is that Kemari Farm was just 3 weeks old when the co-founders made their winning pitch last year.

“We were a new company and we had nothing. In fact, we had zero capital,” Mohd Hafizuddin said. “We discussed among ourselves (the co-founders) that we would invest a few hundred dollars of our own money to get this company up and running.”

According to the CEO of Kemari Farm, the $10K grant from Standard Chartered Bank Brunei was indeed a blessing, as it has greatly helped up Kemari Farm set things into motion.

Mohamad Adli bin Mohd Saidi, the Managing Director of Kemari Farm, chimed in to say, “At the end of the day, we just want to show that agriculture can be a viable career.”

When asked if they had any advice for Brunei’s youth, Mohd Hafizuddin and Mohamad Adli said,”Whatever your craft may be, you should always practise and get better at it. Get so good at it that you can capitalise on your craft. That’s what we (the co-founders of Kemari Farm) did. Our craft was agriculture and farming. And so, we kept practising and we got better at it. And now, we are capitalising on it.”

Helping the next generation learn, earn and grow. That’s what Kemari Farm is all about.

The $10K grant that was awarded to Kemari Farm is a partnership with YAP for Standard Chartered Global’s new flagship corporate social responsibility initiative called Futuremakers, which aims to empower youth with education, employability and entrepreneurship opportunities.

A Word Of Thanks

“Thank you Standard Chartered Bank Brunei and SCOT for believing in our vision and for picking us as the top grant winner of last year’s Youth Against Poverty,” Mohd Hafizuddin said, adding that the 10K grant has helped kick start their project of developing a functional farm at the Youth Development Centre.

 

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We recently paid a visit to @kemarifarm.bn the top grant winner from last year’s Youth Against Poverty in partnership with Futuremakers social business ideas grant. Since winning the award last year, @kemarifarm.bn has been making great progress with guidance from @scot_brunei @Kemarifarm.bn have been able to produce an average of 70kgs of fresh produce supplied to local SMEs in the food & beverage industry weekly from the innovative hydroponics farm built using the awarded grant. According to Muhd Hafizuddin, co-founder of Kemari Farm, they are looking forward to increasing the volume of the farm’s production while introducing farming techniques to youths at the Youth Development Centre. A huge thank you to @scot_brunei and the Youth Development Centre for being a part of Futuremakers by Standard Chartered journey. #SCFuturemaking #StanChartBN #Hereforgood

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