Unity Group from HK partners with Nestlé to boost local chilli production in Malaysia

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13th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) Unity Group Holdings International Limited, a pioneer in energy-saving and GreenTech solutions based in Hong Kong, has entered into a collaborative agreement with Nestlé Products Sdn. Bhd., the Malaysian subsidiary of the global FMCG leader Nestlé S.A. The partnership, formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), also includes GoBiz Asia Sdn. Bhd., Unity Group’s authorised representative in Malaysia.

This strategic alliance is set to roll out the VEGGiTY Proof of Concept Model (VPM Model), an initiative spearheaded by Unity Group’s AgriTech arm, VEGGiTY. The collaboration aims to bolster chilli production in Malaysia by December 2024, employing state-of-the-art agricultural technologies to ensure compliance with Nestlé’s stringent quality standards.

Chairman of Unity Group, Mr. Mansfield Wong, commented on the environmental challenges that have complicated agricultural production in regions like Malaysia, exacerbated by global warming. “Our project with Nestlé is focused on utilising advanced AgriTech solutions to create a sustainable, controlled indoor farming environment that drastically reduces energy and water consumption while boosting crop yield and efficiency,” said Wong.

The initiative will leverage the latest in smart technology, integrating intelligent control systems and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to optimise the growing conditions for chilies. This is particularly significant in Johor, where despite being a major producer of fruits and vegetables, only about 30% of chilies are sourced locally. The VPM Model aims to reduce this dependency on imports, in line with Johor’s goals under Malaysia’s National Food Security Policy Action Plan 2021-2025 and the National Agri-Food Policy 2021-2030.

The VPM Model involves a sophisticated setup including a 40′ container unit known as the Portable All-in-One Digital Vertical Indoor Farming (DVIF) system. Equipped with solar panels, this system maintains optimal growth conditions through constant temperature and humidity control, alongside automated plant lighting.

Nestlé has committed to providing chilli seeds for the initial trials and will subsequently offtake the produce based on its monthly requirements. The company currently consumes between 400-500 tons of chilli annually, with global needs reaching up to 5,000 tons.