Despite doing well, he still yearned to pursue his passion in agriculture and set his sights on growing dragon fruit.
The 45-year-old Lee ploughed through the Internet for information and came up with projections for success. After eight years and starting with a mere 0.8ha plot, Lee is now tasting the fruits of his labour.
His family and friends are also among the dragon fruit kings in the state.
Their farms produce an average of 80 to 100 tonnes of dragon fruit monthly from a combined farming area of 40ha.
Lee also supplies dragon fruit to be turned into wine and other products including cordials, jams, pastes, powders and enzymes.
‘I started with zero. I worked hard and conducted a lot of research as I have never been involved in planting or harvesting anything,’ he said, adding that they also produced three types of wine for both domestic and export markets.
Now Kluang was not just known for coffee but also its own dragon fruit wine, he said.
He said his company, Agriville Plantations Sdn Bhd, was the pioneer in the wine-making business in Malaysia.
The wines are known as Kluang Classic, Kluang Vintage and Kluang Special Reserve.
Imitating the fermentation process of wines made from grapes, dragon fruit wine is fermented for about two and a half months before being filtered and packaged.
‘I have been through tough times during the past last eight years but I have no regrets,’ he said.
‘One must have the passion, patience and work hard and never give up,’ he said.
Lee said the wines, priced at RM49 and RM89, were exported to China and Singapore.
Fama Johor director Abdul Rahaman Suleiman said the state was the largest producer of dragon fruit in Malaysia, with Kluang known as the dragon fruit valley in the state.
Those who want to know more about Lee’s products can visit www.ilovepitaya.com.
Article by: Nelson Benjamin