Lun Kwok-fai – or Fai Gor (Brother Fai), as he’s affectionately known – has a beautiful organic farm. At 6,500 sq m, it is vast, by Hong Kong standards. The farm has two lotus ponds, one for growing lotus roots and one for lotus seeds. Fai Gor said the lotus variety that is grown for the roots of the plant is different to the type that is chosen for the seeds. He also grows seasonal vegetable and fruits.
There are some 10,000 fish in each pond. But they are not for consumption. “The ponds improve bio-diversity. The fish enrich the ponds, making them a good habitat for birds to rest.”
Fai Gor has worked as an organic farmer for the past five years. He was a taxi driver before he took up farming. “I got tired with taxi driving and I believe there is great potential with farming. Hong Kong grown vegetables used to supply 80 percent of the greens we eat. However, that figure has fallen to less than two percent today. But there is a demand for locally-grown greens so local agriculture has big potential.”
He certainly knows the risks and challenges involved when he switched to full-time farming. The biggest risk of all is uncertainly. No matter how much care and love he gives his land, there is always the possibility that it can be taken away from him for residential or infrastructure development projects. “It is unfortunate that many of us in Hong Kong do not treat land as it should be, for growing and providing food. Land in Hong Kong is for building houses or high-rises. This is a very wrong concept, land gives us food, and locally-grown food helps combat climate change. Farms can conserve our natural habitats and agriculture diversifies our economy.”
What do you like the most about Hong Kong?
“Our natural environment, it is so rich and diverse. Whether it is landscapes or bio-diversity, we’re blessed. It is also amazing that even though Hong Kong is so built-up and obsessed with development, we are still able to have 40 percent of our land reserved for country parks.”
What do you dislike the most about Hong Kong?
“Hong Kong is too money-oriented. Money is the criterion used to measure everything.”
What does Hong Kong have to do to be sustainable?
“We need an agricultural policy.”