Seed of New Hope - Sabah
Opportunity, it has been said,
often presents itself in times of
misfortune. This is indeed the story
for the women from Kg Kiau Nuluh,
a village fringing the foothills of Mt
Kinabalu which was badly affected
by the June 5th Sabah earthquake
and it’s after quake tremors.
Women form a substantial segment of the pineapple cultivation economy at Kg Kiau Nuluh. The earthquake
and its aftermath had a devastating economic impact on women as the harvesting and cultivation of crops were left unattended due to their fear and anxiety. Furthermore, the low wholesale market price of the fruit also did not encourage them to take risk. Their economic woes were compounded by the closure of the mountain summit which affected 70% of household income as it was heavily reliant on mountain
guiding and pottering services.
In an effort towards building social and economic community resilience, GSS (Good Shepherd Services) piloted a community-based project to downstream pineapple production. One of the hopes for this initiative was to encourage the community to re-commence their farming activities. Eleven women whose main source of income depended on pineapple produce were chosen by the community to participate in this three-month pilot project. The only investment that was required of the participants, dubbed the Group of Eleven, for this project was their own pineapple produce plus their commitment of time to the production process.
The recipe for the two products, Pineapple Chutney and Pineapple Jam, were shared by GSS volunteers who made fortnightly two-hour journey down to Kg Kiau Nuluh to supervise the production. GSS assisted with the marketing which was not difficult task as within the day all the products would be snapped up at St Simon Church Kota Kinabalu.
The pilot phase started on 1 August and ended on 31 October. In all, they produce 600 bottles of pineapple product which generated a net profit of RM4,500 for the group or about RM400 each. Their total investment per person was 60 kg of pineapple equivalent to an income of RM90 had they sold the produce to a wholesaler. The quality and potential of the products were recognized by Rotary Club when they won a RM5,000 Biz Grant for their project.
The viability of Pineapple Chutney and Pineapple Jam project as an economic enterprise to supplement income for families have been an empowering experience for Kg Kiau Nuluh, particularly the women. Many dreams and hopes have been expressed as they aspire towards establishing an inclusive community-based enterprise that will directly benefit the well-being of women and their families. Importantly, the excitement of this continuing project has renewed personal energies, lifted the human spirit and given new hope to this earthquake-affected community.
“In the midst of sorrows, there
are always great graces”
- St Mary Euphrasia