- Ace of Base was still a hit. Allister Hilton Smith and Ong Yang Hui, yes that is us were working in a bank in Kuala Lumpur and that’s where we met, yippee!!! Not the most riveting place on earth. Suffered more mental health issues than physical ones.
- Government declared that year to be a tax free year because of the Asian Economic Crisis and the bank declared a voluntary separation scheme. Don’t have to be Einstein to guess what we did. Off to Kuching after that and yes by coincidence we were both from Kuching.
- Printed copious amount of stuff on agriculture namely chicken farming as we thought we could be millionaires from it, how hard could it be right? Mind you the browser we used was still Netscape back then.
- Both took another mundane day job back in Kuching to just tie themselves over before becoming millionaires from chicken farming. To the shock and horror when they discovered how chickens are reared in the battery farms and the actual cost of doing so is beyond their shoe – string budget.
- Therefore, armed with an abundance of youthful ignorance and “changkol” they embarked on their “organic” chicken” adventure on one of Ong’s family land which was more like a forest then.
- They were plenty of feed making sessions using a portable cuttlefish miller, deshelling of corn by hand, making homemade chicken feed. Growing corn, soybean, sunflowers, lima beans and loads of other types of beans. Trial and error in rearing the chickens, which didn’t grow at first much to our dismay.
- Researched some more and found out why. Then we had predator problems, housing design issues for the chicken coops, too hot, cold, wet and dry. And we also hired our first worker then who opened most of the farm by himself with a “changkol”.
- We made our first commercial sale amounting to RM68.88. One can say that’s not a lot but it broke the duck and that’s all we needed. Customers were mainly friends and publicity was mainly through word of mouth. General feedback was that customers not only liked that the fact the chickens were free from hormones, antibiotics etc but they also tasted good with nice firm texture.
- Earth Alliance our company was born in August 2000.
- We were certified as “Organic in Conversion” with registration number 8062 following an audit done on the Company’s operations, soil and farming methods of the Company by representatives of the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (“NASAA”).It was a special moment for us as at that time, Earth Alliance was only one of three farms in this whole region certified by NASAA for its poultry product.
- Acquired our first KUBOTA tractor to assist us in our corn and soybean planting.
- Made our first sale to the supermarkets by supplying 12 whole chickens to Choice Daily in Stutong in December 2012. A significant milestone for the company as prior to this we were trying to sell the chickens through a pick up point in a friend’s coffee shop. Then we realised we had to wait the entire day for the customers to pick up the chickens. This is definitely not how we envisioned our future to be.
- A major and devastating flood in early 2003 wiped out most of our flock. This is what we mean by having to listen to mother nature. Thoughts of giving up was overwhelmed by the possible fate of our employees and the potential loss of an alternative choice of healthily grown food for our customers, most of whom have become close friends had we decided to stop then what we were doing. Imagine the despair for parents looking for alternative healthy grown chickens for their kids.
- We then asked for a suspension of the “Organic in Conversion” status from NASSA in order to rebuild the farm. We felt that the scarce monetary resources that goes toward maintaining the certification would be better channelled toward the rebuilding of the farm and we have not stopped since.
2005 – present
- We have since expanded from distributing to one supermarket outlet in 2002 to now 6 supermarket outlets and two leading restaurants in Kuching. Along the way we added our vegetable, goat milk and eggs which had a good following.
- Our corn and soybean planting is on a more aggressive expansion mode and we have added more machineries and equipment to help us on our way. All this is in line with our aim of farming sustainably where the soil is KING. It’s the be all and end all of everything that we do.