Helping rural folk thrive through essential oils

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KUCHING: Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) has signed a Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) for the LitSara®️ project with six indigenous communities in an effort to promote the importance of biodiversity conservation, among others.

It holds out a three-fold benefit to the participating indigenous communities in terms of recognising and respecting the communities’ right to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.

The agreement also ensures a fair and equitable sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits arising from the utilisation of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.

Sagah speaks at the Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) signing ceremony at Sarawak Biodiversity Centre on Saturday (May 21).

Education, Innovation and Talent Development Minister Datuk Roland Sagah applauded the effort.

“With this approach and model, the communities are empowered to have ownership of the project, and to value-add through propagation of the plants and carry out distillation of the essential oils.

“I am very glad that the LitSara®️ project supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) key,” said Sagah at the BSA signing ceremony at Sarawak Biodiversity Centre on Saturday (May 21).

Sarawak Biodiversity Council’s Chairman Datuk Amar Jaul Samion then recalled the first signing three years ago with five communities; the Bidayuh of Kampung Kiding in Padawan, the Kelabit of Pa’Ukat and Pa’Lungan in Bario and the Lun Bawang of Long Telingan and Long Kerebang in Lawas as well as Long Rusu in Ba’kelalan.

“Under the first Benefit Sharing Agreement, the five communities together have supplied 860 litres of essential oils. The payment of essential oils and benefits shared from the sales of the products amounted to over RM600,000.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environmental Facilities (GEF) for funding this project since the beginning from 2014 till 2018.

“I also would like to thank TERAJU for supporting three communities under the TERAJU Livelihood and Dana Pembangunan Usahawan Bumiputera (DPUB) programme,” said Jaul.

With the signing today, the Lun Bawang community from Long Rusu, Ba’kelalan officially joins the LitSara®️ project.

The project aims to improve livelihoods through the improvement and expansion of the infrastructures in the production of LitSara oil from Litsea cubeba.

SBC helps the communities to develop new products and enhanced marketing including commercialisation of the LitSara®️ products while promoting continuous preservation of traditional knowledge and conservation of the biological resources.

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