The community representatives and organising staff in a group photo.

KUCHING: In conjunction with Sarawak Biodiversity Centre’s (SBC) 21st anniversary, a Traditional Knowledge (TK) Documentation seminar showcasing the centre’s ongoing and future commercialisation projects was held.

The seminar, which was held on Dec 6 at Harbour View Hotel here, attracted community leaders and representatives from 17 ethnic groups from across Sarawak.

These groups were namely the Bagatan, Berawan, Bidayuh, Bisaya, Iban, Kayan, Kelabit, Kenyah, Lun Bawang, Melanau, Melayu, Penan, Punan, Saban, Sekapan, Tabun, and Tagal.

“The record-breaking participation is a testimony that native communities across Sarawak have begun to appreciate the potential of our TK Documentation Programme, particularly towards socio-economic empowerment and the conservation of Borneo’s rich biodiversity for future generations,” said Dr Charlie Yeo, chief executive officer of SBC.

During the seminar, project leaders and community representatives presented their experiences and shared their views on the way forward in documenting their traditional knowledge for 2020 and beyond. 

Since the TK Documentation Programme was launched in 2001, SBC has to-date established TK Documentation projects among 20 ethnic communities in Sarawak, involving 92 villages and areas.

The community representatives and organising staff in a group photo.

Among the highlights of the seminar included presentations on the AdenoSara project which ventures into a pet care product series. SBC pioneered this project with the Bidayuh of Kampung Semadang.

The experience sharing sessions on the AdenoSara and LitSara projects were presented by Roddiem Sabod and Boniface Nyosor respectively.

 The AdenoSara project is funded and supported by SBC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), while the well-established LitSara project is funded and supported by SBC, Global Environmental Facilities (GEF)/UNDP, and the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources.

Representatives also featured activities initiated by native communities to ensure sustainability of the projects. 

“With more participation of native communities from across Sarawak, we would be able to harvest a higher volume of the LitSara essential oil that enables to push our presence to a wider market reach,” said SBC senior research officer Margarita Naming.

“One of the unique features of our TK programme is that our projects implement Good Wild Craft (GWC) practice which means plants are grown in their natural setting,” she added.

Suggestions made on the way forward included establishing koperasi in the village as well as strategies to attract the involvement of the younger generation and in increasing plant materials for research and development and commercialisation purposes.