During it’s inception the SLDB operated on major commodity tree crops such as, rubber and cocoa, but palm oil was quickly prioritised in Sabah as the crop offers great prospect in the Malaysian context. Decades of experience concerning palm oil settlers by the early 1990s SLDB had developed more than 60000 hectares of the Sabah state land into palm oil settlers estates, and palm oil midstream processing facilities mainly on the East coast of Sabah (Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Tawau).
Currently, the SLDB oil palm community intervention projects are scattered throughout around Sabah mainly in the interior areas. It was in 2001 that the SLDB broaden its palm oil development activity following the State Government’s decision to appoint the SLDB as the key agency to implement poverty eradication projects targeted mainly to those who have been awarded land under the Communal Land Title. This high impact project is aimed to create income and employment opportunities in the rural areas. The Board is a catalyst in transforming rural areas and improving the well-being of the rural people in Sabah through land consolidation and community empowerment.
Another initiative called the Mini Estate Sejahtera (MESEJ) scheme aimed to provide income opportunity for the hardcore poor. The idea of MESEJ is founded by the Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman it is another importnace poverty eradication programme fully managed by the SLDB. The MESEJ project for agriculture, particularly palm oil plantation is administered through the Trust Fund established through the Sabah Ministry of Rural Development. Local authorities such as, the Sabah Housing Development Board, municipal and district council help to provide basic infrastructure to the MESEJ development projects.
Note: Please also visit the latest edition of SLDB’s in-house bulletin – Berita Kemajuan)