Traditional Knowledge (TK) and its commercial potential: SBC’s TK seminar attracts largest participation from 17 ethnic communities
KUCHING – In conjunction with SBC’s 21st Anniversary celebration, a Traditional Knowledge Documentation seminar showcasing its ongoing and future commercialisation projects held on 06th December 2019 at Harbour View Hotel, attracted community leaders and representatives from 17 ethnic groups, from across Sarawak, namely, Bagatan, Berawan, Bidayuh, Bisaya, Iban, Kayan, Kelabit, Kenyah, Lun Bawang, Melanau, Melayu, Penan, Punan, Saban, Sekapan, Tabun and Tagal.
“The record-breaking participation is a testimony that native communities across Sarawak have begun to appreciate the potential of our Traditional Knowledge Documentation programme, particularly, towards socio-economic empowerment and conservation of Borneo’s rich biodiversity for future generation,” said Dr Charlie Yeo, SBC’s Chief Executive Officer.
During the seminar, project leaders and community representatives presented their experiences and shared their views on the way forward in documenting their traditional knowledge for 2020 and beyond. Since the TK Documentation Programme was launched in 2001, SBC has to-date established TK documentation projects among 20 ethnic communities in Sarawak, involving 92 villages/areas.
Among the highlights of the seminar include presentations on the AdenoSara® Project that ventures into pet care product series. SBC pioneered this project with the Bidayuh of Kampung Semadang. According to the late Encik William Saau ak Nange, “The natives would crush the plant and rub it on their pets to get rid of ticks and fleas. A whiff of the plant reminds one of diesel.” The AdenoSara® project is funded and supported by SBC and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The experience sharing sessions on the AdenoSara® and LitSara® project were presented by Madam Roddiem ak Sabod and Mr Boniface ak Nyosor respectively. Representatives also featured activities initiated by native communities to ensure sustainability of the projects.
The well established LitSara® Project with Geographic Indicator (GI) Intellectual property rights is funded and supported by SBC, Global Environmental Facilities/United Nations Development Programme (GEF/UNDP) and Ministry of Water, Soil and Natural Resources. SBC’s Deputy CEO, Ms Margarita Naming said, “With more participation of native communities from across Sarawak, we would be able to harvest a higher volume of the LitSara® essential oil that enables to push our presence to a wider market reach.
“One of the unique features of our TK programme is that our projects implement Good Wild Craft (GWC) practice which means plants are grown in their natural setting.” Naming added.
Community participants were gratified as the Seminar was a good platform for sharing and learning of experiences from each other. Suggestions on the way forward included establishing Koperasi in the village, strategies to attract young generation involvement and in increasing plant materials for Research & Development and commercialization purposes.