KUCHING, Jan 22: The WWF-Malaysia has recently entered into an agreement with Ceria Agriculture Services Sdn Bhd (CAS) to ensure the sustainability and marketability of Adan rice produced by local communities in the Ba’Kelalan highlands, Lawas.
The three-year memorandum of agreement (MoA), according to WWF-Malaysia in a media release, aims at promoting, strengthening and developing collaborative efforts between both parties that conforms with WWF-Malaysia’s goal of maintaining the sustainability of Adan rice production by communities, through good management practices and chemical-free farming methods.
It was inked by CAS managing director Thomas Hii and WWF-Malaysia conservation director Dr Henry Chan, and witnessed by Persatuan Masyarakat Adat Dataran Tinggi, Sarawak (Formadat) deputy chairman John Trawe Kuda and Antares Ventures Sdn Bhd director Brendan Kon. The MoA took effect in September 2020.
WWF-Malaysia emphasised that the MoA contributes to its larger objectives in conservation and community empowerment work in the Ba’ Kelalan highlands which involves protecting rivers and improving livelihoods through the implementation of chemical-free and Good Agricultural Practices-certified rice.
Acknowledging that rice farming has been practised in a traditional and sustainable manner for many generations, WWF-Malaysia added that its vision is to preserve it while enhancing the production output.
“Called the System of Rice Intensification, this method of farming is chemical-free and uses less water, and yet increases yield by almost two folds.
“Incidentally, this also means that there will be less pressure to convert forests into agricultural lands. The local communities will instead be able to work with WWF-Malaysia to conserve the catchments that supply them with clean water for irrigation and other uses,” the statement said.
Under this agreement, CAS is the exclusive buyer of Adan rice from farmers in Ba’ Kelalan under WWF-Malaysia’s Sustainable Agriculture and Community Livelihood project that engages Formadat with which WWF-Malaysia has a formal collaboration.
The collaboration also includes the extension of programmes such as pre-and post-harvest activities, workshops, training, marketing, branding, packaging, sales and awareness programmes, either by CAS to WWF, and vice versa, and for the local farmers in Ba’ Kelalan.
Under the MoA, CAS will appoint Antares Ventures Sdn Bhd for the marketing of Adan rice, which include onsite and online sales, cash on delivery sales, participation in exhibitions and fairs, special commission orders for corporate souvenirs, interior design fit-out and original equipment manufacturer supply to brands.
As part of the collaboration, WWF-Malaysia, together with Formadat, will also provide capacity building and awareness programmes to encourage farmers to participate in chemical-free rice production, set up standard operating procedures and management system for their pre- and post-harvest in Ba’ Kelalan to produce sustainable and quality Adan rice.
WWF-Malaysia will also assist farmers in obtaining recognised certifications for organic and good agricultural products. – DayakDaily