“AGROECOLOGY FOR ALL: Initiatives in Malaysia” – URBAN GARDEN

Lingesh with his EM preparations.

Agroecology Starts at Home


(Part 2)

During his family’s weekly temple visit, Mullai’s son, Lingesh noticed that the bulk of the limes used for the prayers eventually end up as garbage. He brought home the limes.

His family eats fruit regularly. Lingesh combined the fruits and the lime peels and experimented with ways of effective microorganism (EM) solution making until he derived a solution that could effectively be used for various cleaning chores.

“We don’t waste any of the fruit peels. All are converted into EM solutions. When we produce more than what we need, we distribute them for free, simultaneously explaining their benefits to the receiver.


“Washing dishes with this solution has one advantage. Unlike the chemical laden dishwashing, the wastewater after cleaning with EM can be used to water plants. This way, the plants grow healthy and we can also save the water from draining away,” added Prabahar.

Mullai’s daughter, Sakanna, had found an easy way of repelling cockroaches with the EM solution. “When I spray the EM solution on the cockroaches, the vapour from the solution stupefies and freezes their movement for a short moment.

“I use that moment to catch the cockroaches and get rid of them. Unlike the insect sprays that release toxic chemicals into the air, this method doesn’t pollute the environment and is safe for all,” she emphasised.

“We don’t waste any of our kitchen waste. While some waste is converted into EM solutions, the rest finds its way to the small compost pit we had set up at the edge of a deserted playground. When the compost is ready, we use it for the plants on our balcony.”


Below is Lingesh’s method of preparing EM solution:

  1. Take any fresh fruit peels (citrus fruit is preferred as it gives a pleasant smell to the end result) and mix them in a container together with jaggery and water. The fruits, jaggery, and water should be in the ratio of 1:3:10.
  2. Cover the container with a lid and let it ferment for 3 months. For the first month, open the lid daily to release the gas.
  3. Sift and use the solution for dishwashing and floor mopping.
  4. The leftover lump from the solution can be used for scrubbing the bathroom floor and toilet.


Mullaimalar’s way of preparing groundnut milk is as below:

  1. Soak groundnuts for 8-10 hours. Remove the soaked water.
  2. Add boiled and cooled water and grind the nuts to a fine paste.
  3. Sift the milk. Add hot water and brown sugar.
  4. Add cardamom powder, mix well and enjoy the drink.

Agroecology Fund