Teacher turns love for figs into business

Hawari Wanik shows a fig pod ready for the market. Photos: Bernama

By Nadia Jumri

IPOH: It started from a love of figs. Now, Hawari Wanik, 32, is running a 0.4-hectare farm known as ‘Ipoh Figs Farm’ in Ulu Chepor here.

The teacher said he started to grow 50 fig trees of various varieties in pots at his house compound in 2014 after falling in love with the unique sweet taste of the fruits which are high in natural sugars, minerals and soluble fibre.

“I started growing figs just for fun at the quarters. I sold the seedlings online before they became more popular,” he told Bernama when met here recently.

With a start-up capital of RM60,000 from his savings and profits from the online business, Hawari took bold steps by operating a large-scale cultivation of figs four years ago.

Hawari Wanik shows a fig pod ready for the market. Photos: Bernama

“Among the varieties are Masui Dauphine, Constantine De Algerie, Super Red Hybrid, Long Neck Yellow, Moulinat, and Bardissot Negra Rimada,” said Hawari, who taught himself the techniques of planting through reading.

Seeing the potential of the fruit, two of his friends, Khairil Amri Abdul Rahman, 43, and Mohd Hafiz Helmi Md Hashim, 32, invested in the business and set up the Malaysian Figgers Association, which comprises commercial fig growers from all over the country.

“To date, we have planted more than 500 fig trees comprising 70 varieties. Even though the production is quite a lot, almost 20 kg per day, we do not plan to export because the freshness period is only 10 days, apart from the high cost,” he said.

Hawari, who is from Batu Kurau, near Taiping, said it could take between 40 and 60 days for the trees to fruit and be harvested before being sold at RM80 per kg which would earn them RM30,000 for one planting season or seven months.

The teacher has also established a subsidiary (Hijrah Es Magic Ent) to produce fig-based products such as herbal oil, ice-cream and tea. – Bernama

Khairil Amri shows the fig plant leaves that are dried and later processes into tea leaves.