The state’s first major jatropha plantation in the state was launched with Japanese aid in Trusan sub-district yesterday.
Lawas MP Henry Sum Agong launched the project covering 3,000 hectares. It will be a bio-diesel production hub in Limbang division in the coming years.
The project at Long Tuan village is the first phase and it could be expanded to 20,000 hectares in subsequent phases.
Sum expressed optimism in the project, saying it had attracted foreign investors who were interested in alternative energy sources through development of native customary rights (NCR) land.
The company, Asian Dream Energy Sdn Bhd, is led by managing director Takafumi Fujoka who said a jatropha processing plant would be set up in Lawas district next year.
“This will provide confidence to local farmers and owners of land there to be actively involved in jatropha plantation which takes between six to eight months to reach production stage while the lifespan is about 25 years,” he said.
Takafumi said the crop had a huge potential in the state and his home country Japan did not have sufficient land for large scale plantation compared to Sarawak .
He stressed that Japanese investors were keen to invest in the country due to the track record of the country’s leadership in systematic land management .
“Together with locals, we want to develop the idle NCR land on a win-win arrangement where everyone benefits,” he said.
Local community leaders and senior government officers were among those present at the function.