BoomGrow is an award-winning Malaysian farming company whose mission is to transform farming by producing 100 per cent clean and nutritious vegetables delivered directly to the consumer. It is located in Kuala Lumpur in the Klang Valley and was founded in 2013 by two young Malaysians, both of whom were educated in the UK. Dr Jay Desan, a serial entrepreneur and sustainability consultant, obtained her Doctorate from Queen Mary College, University of London in 2008, having originally studied Law at the Universiti of Malaya, graduating in 2000. Her co-founder, Murali Krishnamurthy, is a business consultant who obtained his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Accounting and Finance and Business Administration from the University of Warwick, graduating initially in 1998 and subsequently in 2005. Together with their 19 agronomist IoT designers, plant science, R&D specialists, and technology engineering colleagues form a dynamic entrepreneurial team that is “saving the planet one vegetable at a time”.
While Jay recognised that farming is responsible for many of the environmental problems the world is facing, and the food we eat is estimated to be responsible for some 60 per cent of the planet’s diversity loss, Murali, a former national athlete, knew the importance of good nutrition. They started BoomGrow by asking themselves one simple question “How can people eat better?” This then led to a series of related questions such as “How can we grow greens not normally found in our region?”, “How can we produce healthier, tastier crops using less land and less water?” and “How can we grow food sustainably?”. As a result of posing such questions and after many years of developing and refining their technology, they have created a “precision farming” system that uses 95 per cent less water, land and fuel than traditional farming and delivers consistent yield and quality all year round.
The technology, which is patented, took five years to develop, largely through trial and error. Eventually, they discovered AI-powered vertical farming and began to grow their plants in a controlled indoor environment without the use of harmful pesticides. Their system detects how light, water and pH affect the taste of their plants, and they then rely on machine learning and data analysis to determine the required inputs. Despite the technology, the vegetables are competitively priced and delivered free of charge to Klang Valley customers who subscribe to a weekly or fortnightly purchase. This is because they do not need vast amounts of land and long, expensive and polluting supply chains. The crops are grown in repurposed shipping containers, and a 360 sq. foot plot can produce the equivalent yield to an acre of traditional outdoor farming,
Though the Covid-19 pandemic resulted, initially, in a decline in B2B sales, the B2C market boomed as customers became more aware of the impact of their food choices on their health and that of the planet. As a result, they are expanding their operation out of the Klang Valley to reach more customers.
Clearly, BoomGrow is addressing SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), but it is also contributing to SDGs 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action), 15 (Life on Land) and 9 (Industry Innovation and Infrastructure). It is a for-profit business concerned for the well-being of both people and the planet. As one customer acknowledged, “BoomGrow is hands down the best way to ensure we get our nutrients and daily greens…thank you for keeping our family healthy”.
Dayangku, S. (2021), It took this M’sian smart farm 5 years to find an ideal method to grow pesticide-free veg. Vulcan Post 15th July. https://vulcanpost.com
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