Non-timber forest products sell well online

KUCHING: In this digital era, even non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are being marketed by savvy sellers on online shopping platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, and social media site Facebook.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg stated that Shopee and Facebook have been used by locals to sell ‘ketiau’ oil for RM25 to RM40 per 25ml.

“Another product, ‘engkabang’ butter can also be obtained through the online shops for RM15 to RM60 for 100g to 150g, with a delivery cost of RM8 to RM10,” he said.

Len (right) and Hamden (second right) visiting one of the stalls at the carnival.

“These online platforms are convenient and effective ways for people to sell their products, increase their sales and income and can possibly be further expanded to other products especially NTFPs.”

Abang Johari’s speech text was presented by Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh when he officiated at the opening ceremony of the Non-Timber Forest Products Carnival Sarawak 2019 at Kuching Waterfront here, yesterday.

He also highlighted that various NTFP development programmes have been organised by the state Forest Department with the aim of enhancing (through courses and workshops) the communities’ capabilities and skills of producing NTFPs.

He added that this would ensure that the products are able to meet market standards and needs.

“In addition, enrichment planting of NTFP species is also being conducted to make sure that the resources are not depleted for future use,” emphasised Abang Johari.

He believed that the involvement of international organisations from various countries such as Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Cambodia and Laos would expand NTFP markets to a higher level while promoting Sarawak’s NTFPs to the world.

Abang Johari stated that a total of 1,532 telecommunication towers built in the state and the additional 657 towers to be constructed, 300 of which are expected to be completed by this year-end, would benefit the rural communities in particular by helping them communicate more efficiently, including marketing the NTFPs from their respective areas.

“The development of NTFPs can be further enhanced with improved roads and network infrastructures,” he noted.

Touching on Sarawak’s digital development journey, the chief minister stated that 20 government services are now online for registered Sarawak ID users.

“As of July 1, there were 208,644 registered Sarawak ID users. Meanwhile Sarawak Pay counted 91,640 registered users, with transactions valued at RM35 million as of June 30,” announced Abang Johari, adding that the target was to reach 150,000 Sarawak Pay users by the end of the year.

The NTFP Carnival also saw the Forest Department collaborating with Sarawak Pay, the state’s e-wallet platform.

The carnival which is themed ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’ and run in conjunction with the state Forest Department’s 100th year anniversary celebration began yesterday and will go on until August 20.

Also present were state director of Forests Hamden Mohammad, acting State Secretary Datuk Jaul Samion, and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources Datuk Dr Wan Lizozman Wan Omar.