Malaysia: Sarawak NCR land - Only 328,000 out of 1.5 million hectares developed, planted with oil palm

GOH PEI PEI New Straits Times 30 Nov 16;

PETRA JAYA: It is estimated that there are 1.5 million hectares of native customary rights (NCR) land in Sarawak.

However, only 328,000 hectares had been developed and planted with oil palm by independent or organised smallholders through collaboration with various implementing agencies in the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also the State Agriculture Modernisation and Rural Economy Minister said one of the ministry's focuses is to transform the unproductive NCR land into viable economic units with income generating activities.

The large tract of under-utilised land, he said, provide a huge potential for development such as oil palm, rubber and food crops which could improve the livelihood of the people.

When delivering his winding up speech at the state legislative assembly here today, Douglas, said his Ministry is open to any development alternatives as long as it benefits both the landowners and investors on "win-win" formula.

A leasing model, he said, had been proposed and expected to be better than the existing model in term of higher return to the landowner.

Under the model, he said, landowners will rent their land to the investors at a fixed monthly rate per hectare over a lease period of 25 to 30 years.

"Our analysis also show that an average yearly income per hectare will be received by the landowners under the leasing model is about RM720 to RM780. This is actually not something new as it has been practiced by some of the private sector," he explained.

"Hence, we are confident this alternative model is more attracting to the landowners as it promised a regular and assured returns.

We'll engage the landowners and potential investors to fine tune the model," he added.

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