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Saturday, 12 June, 2021

Individual Land Title Recipients Can Become New Breed Of Agropreneurs

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Sabah’s innovative minds are capable of bringing the State to new heights by transforming awarded individual land titles.

The State government is in the midst of distributing individual land titles back to rightful Sabahans in an initiative to safeguard native land ownership.

In early July, some 2,000 individuals in Bagahak, Lahad Datu, received almost 7,000 hectares of land following a 12-year-long bitter dispute.

A few days later on the 9th of July 2020, another 101 villages in Keningau and Sook received a further 6,425 hectares of land.

More are expected to roll out state-wide in the coming weeks, in line with the Sabah Government’s decision in 2018 to revoke communal titles, replacing them with individual grants. 

The continuity of grants came timely amid the global Covid-19 pandemic that had threatened food security. 

What does this mean for Sabahans?

It is time to take charge and work their own land.

Cultivating the land no longer means back-breaking work as modern farming techniques have surfaced in recent years — it is now an opportune time to introduce many ‘firsts’ in Sabah. 

Aquaponics farming system at Kundasang Aquafarm

Fertigation system at Mesilou Permanent Food Production Park (TKPM), Kundasang

Though many may have fallen on tough times, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal advised new landowners against auctioning off their land for quick cash.

Instead, Sabahans can reap leaps and bounds of profit and make a name for themselves by transforming the land they have waited decades to obtain. 

The communal land title, issued under the State Land Ordinance during the previous government, enabled indigenous communities to collectively serve as beneficiaries of the land. 

Though it was initially designed to prevent the sale of native land to non-settlers, many villagers were bamboozled into signing away their freedom to choose how they would like to work their land.

The abolishment of communal titles in favour of individual land titles not only prevents large corporations from bulldozing the native landowners, it also allows native land owners the freedom to decide how they would like to work their land.

Now, the thousands of new landowners have the freedom to decide the crop they would like to produce, the method of producing such crops and so forth.

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