Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Vegetable farms in Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands is synonymous with tea plantations, vegetables, flowers, strawberries and of course, tourism.

The tea plantations, begun in the 1920s, are on the steeper slopes and are a mainstay of the Malaysian tea industry.

Vegetable farming is carried out by ethnic Chinese farmers mainly in the valleys nearer to the main road leading to the highlands. Per year, intensive farming yields three to four crops, which are exported to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Singapore. Some slash-and-burn cultivation is also carried out by the Orang Asli, the indigenous minority peoples of peninsular Malaysia.

There are many vegetable farms located throughout Cameron Highlands. The most interesting ones to view can be found along the Boh Tea Estate road at Habu and in the area surrounding the Equatorial Hotel after Brinchang.

With its cooler temperatures (18°–22°C) and a reduced seasonal effect from the monsoons, Cameron Highlands was used as a "change-of-air" station for British officers during the colonial period. Later, it developed into a significant tourism center, with economic activities centered around three townships: Ringlet, Tanah Rata, and Brinchang.

I am posting some pictures taken earlier this month for those who may be curious to see the terraced slopes where farmers grow their vegetables here. Watercress or "sai yong choi", one of my favourite vegetable, are grown in the ponds of green you see at the bottom right hand corner.



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