Friday, April 19, 2024

PWD SMART FARMABILITY (PWDSF): When Life Gives You Lemons, You Grow Them

CEO Outlook 2024

The year 2024 sees the rapid proliferation of Artificial Intelligence across all industries, and the rising emphasis on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). That said, there remains growth to be had in existing sectors, lest we miss out on opportunities yet untapped.

In this edition of International Business Review’s CEO Outlook, we explore these individual components from leaders of their respective companies as they look to transform and uplift the people around them through their drive and vision. Read on for the vision of the leaders in the following companies:

Change is the one inescapable constant of life. For renowned agriculturist Dr Billy Tang Chee Seng, he could have stuck to the hand he was dealt: paraplegia as a result of a serious accident in 2015. However, with support from friends and family, he found his footing again and returned to his expertise in farming. The founder and CEO of PwD Smart FarmAbility (PWDSF) speaks with International Business Review on the bountiful harvest he foresees in the years to come.

“I could call PWDSF the embodiment of that old adage, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.’ Prior to founding this enterprise in 2019, I won’t deny the difficulties on adjusting to being a paraplegic, but I have been fortunate enough to have both a strong support network and my passion in farming to ‘fall back on’. My experience has made me even more keenly aware of underserved communities.

The Fruits of Labour

“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve managed to achieve thus far with PWDSF. We’ve been accredited by the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development (MECD) Malaysia, and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC, now known as MRANTI). I provide my views on urban farming in an official capacity for the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025). Most of all, though, I want to advocate for my fellow PWDs and the lesser privileged.

That’s the driving force behind innovations such as the World’s First Organic Regenerative Vegetable Terrarium (My Carbon Farm), as one example. Each unit has enabled low-income families and welfare homes to both supplement their income and access organic vegetables and fish.

When there is rapid urbanisation, it’s easy enough for the cost of food essentials to rise, not to mention the people who slip through the cracks and suffer for it. PWDSF’s partnerships provide participants the capability to improve their living conditions, leading into more opportunities.

While I was the sole Malaysian recipient of the ‘The Regal British Award Certificate & Medal 2022’ at the World Humanitarian Drive Trilateral Global Summit in September 2022, I don’t feel like I can rest on my laurels yet. There’s always more that I can do, to become the voice no one can ignore to ensure my fellow man, the ones with disabilities that society may tend to overlook, are assured the help and attention that they deserve.

At the end of the day, community is important. We can’t afford to leave anyone behind if we are going to address global issues like food security and climate change.

I want my initiatives to inspire others so that one day, all of us can be self-sustaining.

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