KUCHING: Efforts will continue to open up more Native Customary Rights (NCR) land to speed up the development of the agro-commodity sector.
The main objectives for NCR land development are to open up the rural areas and to improve the socio-economic status of the native landowners through various agriculture development programmes, said Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi Utom.
“To date, approximately 770,000 hectares of NCR land have been developed for agriculture purposes. Another 250,000 hectares involving 65 areas throughout Sarawak have also been approved for various agriculture development projects,” he said in his ministerial winding up speech on Wednesday (May 25).
Rundi said the state government is reviewing the implementation of the existing NCR Joint Venture (JV) Model projects in order to ensure the interests of all respective parties are taken care of.
“The development of NCR land was accelerated by a large-scale development scheme in the 1970s and JV Model in mid 1990s. However, it is noted that, most of the project participants of the two models are unhappy as the financial returns received are far below their expectation.
“Projects under the JV Model in particular, are unable to give dividends as expected even after the 10th year of the project,” he explained.
As an alternative to project management model and JV Model, he said NCR landowners and agriculture entrepreneurs through their own initiative have ventured into another business model namely Leasing Model.
“Under this model, the landowners enjoy a fixed income from land rental. The state government, however, will closely regulate and monitor its implementation to safeguard the interest of the stakeholders involved,” said Rundi, adding that there are currently 15 projects under this model involving 954 landowners with a total area of 15,345 hectares.
To date, he said the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) has developed a total of 56,667 hectares of NCR land for oil palm cultivation.
“Of this, 29,184 hectares or 51.5 per cent are mature fields, 13,721 hectares or 24.2 per cent are immature and 13,762 hectares or 24.3 per cent are due for replanting.
“The SALCRA Ordinance 1976 mandates that all NCR land developed by SALCRA shall be issued with Section 18 title of the Sarawak Land Code.
“To date, 21,228 lots involving 39,082 hectares from a total of 27,195 lots involving 48,098 hectares developed have been surveyed. Out of the surveyed area, 17,137 lots with a total area of 32,105 hectares or equivalent to 63 per cent have been issued with land titles.
“Under the 12MP, RM6 million of the state funds has been allocated to carry out a survey of land developed by SALCRA. A total of 1,769 lots are expected to be surveyed in 2022. The survey works for the remaining lots are targeted to be completed by 2024.”