Established in 1969 the Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) is the key governmental agency designated to develop State land for the benefit of the people of Sabah. Its two main strategies to achieve this are through community resettlement programs and in-situ land development projects.
It was instrumental in diversifying Sabah’s agricultural produce, and it is known and respected for supporting smallholder palm oil out growing schemes. In the early 1990s it established a total of 66000 ha of smallholder palm oil plantations, supported by eight palm oil mills. A total of 2748 settler families benefited from this development.
In 1996, SLDB was corporatised, with the commercial wing becoming Borneo Samudra Sdn Bhd, allowing us to focus on and the which left the SLDB with 11,000 ha of settlers area and 1181 ha of a commercial estate mostly located on the East Coast of Sabah. The palm oil estate is left with 2765 settlers involving twelve land development schemes. After 2001, the SLDB rural development projects were widened with most extension being rural land development projects are targeted on the West Coast focused on the Interior division of Sabah or Keningau District
The Sabah Land Development Board is spearheading rural land development to improve the living standard of the rural communities and income opportunities, at the same time to improve unproductive and degraded land areas in Sabah through four socio economic development programmes.
i. Settlers Land Rehabilitation Programme or Program Pemulihan Tanah Peneroka
ii. Smallholders Planning Project or Projek Pekebun Kecil Terancang
iii.Smallholders Decentralized Project or Projek Pekebun Kecil Berkelompok
iv. Communal Land Development or Geran Komunal
So far, a total of 8867 settlers are participating in these programmes. The participants are considered as the stakeholders in the programmes with an agreement based on between 25 and 30-year lease or one generation of palm oil cultivation. After the 30-year period is completed, the SLDB will give the participants two options: either to continue to manage their land under SLDB supervision or to become independent smallholders.
Apart from the palm oil programmes, the Board is also involved in midstream processing activities of fruit bunches (FFB) such as, the Keningau Palm Oil Mill (KPOM) which has been in operation since 2002. In addition to KPOM, a second palm oil mill is expected soon at Pandewan, Nabawan by the end of 2015. The CPO mill in Pandewan is expected to boost palm oil production by the small palm oil growers in the rural areas.