HDA set to transform Ulu Baram, hold stingless bee course for longhouse dwellers 

Dennis (seated centre) poses with participants of the course

LONG LAMA, Sept 29:  A total of 118 people from eight longhouses in the central Baram region have completed a basic stingless bee rearing course at the Telang Usan District Office from Sept 25-27.

The participants were from Long Laput, Sungai Dua, Long Urun (Sri Kenawan), Uma  Bawang, Daleh Long Pelutan, Long Pilah, Long Nakan and Long Keseh, and the facilitators were officers from the Miri Divisional Agriculture Office.

The course was organised by the Highland Development Agency (HDA) under its community economy development initiative, and it represents the start of many more development programmes for the people of Baram.

Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, who officiated at the closing ceremony, said several more stingless bee rearing courses would be organised in the coming months to benefit more longhouse dwellers.

“Stingless bee rearing is considered a small source of income, but if we work on it, I am sure we could make it successful one day,” he said at the function, where each participant was given 10 stingless bee logs to get them started.

Dennis described this initiative as a “low hanging fruit’ project, and the next one would focus on rehabilitating durian trees and tapioca collecting — to be held at Long Lama town — to transform the socio-economic wellbeing of the people.

Dennis said the durian tree rehabilitation programme would take advantage of the famous “Long Lama Durians”, which is considered as one the best and most sought-after durians in the state. But due to age and other factors, these durian trees could hardly bear fruits now.

Roughly 4,000 durian trees will be put under the proposed rehabilitation, benefitting hundreds of owners from more than 20 longhouses in Telang Usan.

For the long term, he said what HDA had in mind for Baram was to invite big companies to invest in large-scale commercial farming, with the locals playing the role of anchor farmers.

Towards this end, a detailed land suitability study would be carried out to pinpoint the exact areas for different types of cash crops. The government would then be able to use the data gathered to entice potential investors.

“Large-scale farming will enable the investors to open up processing factories. This will provide a platform for local farmers to sell their farm produce,” he said.

Dennis told those present that HDA chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also a deputy chief minister, wanted to change the landscape of Ulu Baram so that its people would have a better tomorrow.

HDA, he added, would also be giving due attention to the development of infrastructure and provision of basic amenities.

“And all these will be carried out without federal aid,” he pointed out, adding that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was working hard to develop the rural areas. — DayakDaily