Visit to potential community livelihood project activities in Kg Suang Punggor, Kota Belud, Sabah

Tan Sri Prof Dzul and Anita observing the busy bees producing the kelulut honey.
Tan Sri Prof Dzul and Anita observing the busy bees producing the kelulut honey.

Visitation to the community from Kg Suang Punggor and Kg Suang Kina in Kota Belud, Sabah.

On 3 August 2018, Tan Sri Prof Dzul, Hasanah trustee and I paid a visit to the community from Kg Suang Punggor and Kg Suang Kina in Kota Belud, Sabah. The purpose of the visit was to take part in Yayasan Sejahtera’s (YS) townhall during which time they would be explaining the new community-based project they would be embarking. We also went to the villages to visit existing livelihood activities which could potentially be expanded as well as replicated. Realising that both YS and the community would need subject matter experts, Tan Sri Prof Dzul had also roped in two Professors from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Prof. Piakong and Dr Jabil to join us.

As usual, we were given a warm welcome by the community, given that this was not our first time meeting them. The day started with speeches by YS Chief Operating Officer, Suheilah and Tan Sri Prof Dzul – explaining how both YS and Hasanah intended to support the community, namely the adults, youth and children, in the next two years. This was followed by an open discussion by the villagers on their needs, wants and suggestions. It was good to see that different members of the community spoke – men, women, youth and also the elderly.

Thereafter, we were provided delicious brunch which had been freshly cooked by the women of the community – noodles with peanut sauce as well as roti canai. Tan Sri and I were relieved that we could take a walk to the first village livelihood project, just to have a bit of exercise after such a big meal!

We first visited a villager’s production of kelulut honey at his house. As we entered the area, the bees were a buzzing but given that they are stingless, was not of any harm. We heard how the production was done – from the purchase of the special crates to store the hives, and the innovative use of breast pumps to extract the honey! We then also got to taste the delicious and slightly sour nectar. We also understood there was a great potential to earn a good income from this activity, given the low capital cost and the current market price.

Tan Sri Prof Dzul on a motorbike...without a helmet!
Tan Sri Prof Dzul on a motorbike...without a helmet!

I then watched Tan Sri Prof Dzul hitch on a motorbike to get to the next project activity – to see a Prof chilli fertigation site. I was a little concerned he didn’t have a helmet on but he assured me “Don’t worry Anita, we are only riding in the kampung”.  Once at the site – we were given a briefing on the innovative yet low tech gravity system to fertilize the chilli – again with the idea that the capital investment is low, but the potential yield from the chillies could be high especially if sold fresh as well as turned into food products.

The visit was concluded with a meeting with the two UMS staff and YS at a restaurant to discuss what we saw and what we would do to follow up after the visit.

-Anita Ahmad

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