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Sarawak palm oil industry – A catalyst for rural development

The palm oil industry in Malaysia is more than 100 years old whereas in Sarawak earnest large scale planting only started in the early 1990s and is less than 60 years old here. In peninsular Malaysia rural developments were brought about by the cultivation of oil palm through government schemes like Felda, Felcra, and Sime Darby, Tabung Haji and independent smallholders associations, transforming rural communities into self sufficient, middle class households with comfortable lifestyles.

The main drivers for development were road constructions to these rural communities where oil palms were cultivated, resulting in accessibility and spur even more agricultural activities as well as support industries for these developments.

“The most important aspect of oil palm cultivation is opening up of idle lands or conversion of lands (padi, cocoa and others) for oil palm cultivation, especially along the fringes of large oil palm estates, giving rise to thousands of smallholders oil palm farmers,” Eric Kiu Kwong Seng, Chairman of Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) said during an interview recently.

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State Farmers’ Organisation Sarawak | PPNS
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