Eco-farming deserving of more support

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Last week, I had the opportunity to visit a privatised eco-farming facility in Tin Shui Wai.

I was amazed by the facility’s holistic approach to growing local food with our daily food waste.

Put simply, this facility turns food waste into local food in three steps.

First, staff will go to the nearby estate, school or restaurant to collect food waste.

Then they process the waste and turn it into quality fish food used for breeding fish in the facility’s fish tank. Finally, the microbes from the tank act as a form of fertiliser to grow vegetables near the tank.

At the end of the day, fresh and nutritious vegetables will be grown and fish farmed to be sold at the local market.

This is truly a sustainable approach. It could not just solve Hong Kong’s waste management crisis, but also help to cut our carbon footprint in terms of food imports.

The company has yet to break even because it is operating a small-scale business. But I was told by the management that they are confident that the facility could break even within 6 to 11 months once the business reaches the economy of scale.

Also, the management repeatedly emphasised that they do not require a grant or subsidy from the government to keep the business alive.

Here we have a private company that has the will to tackle Hong Kong’s waste management crisis without asking for a subsidy and. In doing so, it is causing no problems for the local community.

Therefore, shouldn’t the government consider this as a third possible part of our waste management initiative besides the construction of an incinerator and the expansion of our landfills?

The chief executive is due to make his policy address on Wednesday.

It gives the government a good opportunity to do justice to its highly criticised sustainable resource blueprint.

It can set out proper public policies to assist companies like the one I have described and put Hong Kong on the right path to solving our current waste crisis.

* A big thanks to my friends at Environmental Company of Hong Kong, Ltd for showing me their eco farm.

<This article appeared in South China Morning Post on 11/01/2014 Letters column as “Eco-farming deserving of more support”>

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