Datuk Amar Jaul Samion (front left) and Dr Yeo Tiong Chia with Datuk Amar Michael Manyin (centre) officiated the launch of Benefit Sharing Agreement. Also seen (left) Simon Kiai .
BY SITI NURAIN RATANI

PADAWAN: The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) signed a Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) with two indigenous communities today.

The indigenous communities comprise the Bidayuhs from Kampung Semadang, Penrissen and Ibans from Simon Longhouse, Lubok Antu.

SBC chairman Datuk Amar Jaul Samion said the agreement was crucial in cultivating the spirit of shared ownership to protect their traditional knowledge and biology resources.

“This shows SBC’s commitment under the ‘Programme Documentation of Traditional Knowledge’ based on mutual trust with the natives of Sarawak.

“It is important for SBC to work with the indigenous community to continue its global development in management and conservation of biological diversity,” he said at the signing ceremony in Kampung Semadang, Penrisen today.

Jaul, who is also State Secretary, said the BSA was the first step towards commercialising natural resources to generate additional income for the rural communities as well as to improve their standard of living.

“It is in the line with the vision of the Sarawak government to move away from the traditional industry, and explore the new economic growth opportunities through innovation,” he added.

Jaul noted that a total of 311 plants had been documented and five of them had traction values for research and market perspectives.

“One of the plants is known as bunga ta’ang, also known as bangkit engkerawan and adenosara nelsonioides.

“AdenoSara has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it becomes a product with great potential in the development of oral care and personal hygiene products.”

He thanked the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for financing the BSA project in Kampung Semadang and Simon’s longhouse.

“This funding aims to develop a process in which the communities involved will be together, creating a value chain from forest to laboratory to consumer, and ultimately commercialisation that will generate a source of income.

“I am happy to know that several agencies are working with SBC in a few projects to conserve and protect the traditional knowledge of the community and biological resources of Sarawak,” he said.