Doppa disagrees with Kok’s statement to stop expansion of oil palm plantations

Dr Richard Mani

KUCHING: Dayak Oil Palm Planters Association (Doppa) has expressed its disagreement with Primary Industry Minister, Teresa Kok’s statement to stop expansion of oil palm plantations in the country.

“We don’t agree to Minister Teresa Kok’s statement because we have 1.6 million hectares of NCR (native customary rights) land that must be developed systematically in tandem with Sarawak government objective to achieve the minimum household income of RM4,000 per month among Dayak rural populace,” said Doppa president, Dr Richard Mani.

In stressing that NCR land is the only the asset that they have, Richard said without the development of their NCR lands, their economy will be affected and cannot be improved.

“In this respect, we at Doppa agree with the statement by Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah to develop NCR land for the economic betterment of the Dayak community,” he said.

Richard said Kok must be aware that the Sarawak government has given assurance that there will be no more opening of mass plantation on state land but will allow the natives to develop their NCR lands.

“It has been announced there will no more large scale oil palm plantation on state land. However for NCR land there must be systematic planning of land development for the rural populace economy,” he said.

Richard insisted that all Doppa members have been trained and exposed on the importance of following the strict rules and guidelines required by the international community.

“Dayak oil palm planter will abide by the Malaysia Standard Palm Oil (MSPO) to be implemented by 2020 – we will follow the standards and international rules,” he stressed.

He believed that Dayak smallholders do not contribute the environmental problem because they are only planting in small areas – between three and 30 acres plot with others crops.

“They plant oil palm with other crops like fruit trees, paddy field, and they rear livestock – it doesn’t harm the environment because normally their farms are diversified” he said.

Richard also emphasised that Malaysia Palm oil Board (MPOB) are offering subsidies to help rural dwellers venturing into oil palm smallholding while Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) has its community joint ventures project.

Doppa, he added, adopted land rental system based on the number of trees planted on the land to work with rural community who refused their land to be developed on profit sharing basis.

“The most popular rate among the Dayak oil palm planters is 50 sen per tree per month, easier to understand for people who have limited knowledge on accounting. For every 1,000 trees planted on their land, these kampong people will receive RM500 per month,” he explained.

Doppa, he added now has about 1,500 members and they have been doing a lot of programmes like roadshow for MSPO and ‘Aram Bersawit’.

Richard said Doppa welcomes Kok to visit Sarawak to see for herself the situation here because it is working closely with federal and state agencies.

“Her statement is a blanket statement – cannot plant palm oil. How can people not plant palm oil? The price of pepper now is also declining. The price of palm oil is still stable and furthermore, when it starts fruiting, you can start selling it right away,” he concluded.

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