KUCHING (July 22): The British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay MVO was enlightened on interesting plants utilised by the state’s indigenous communities during a visit to the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) here yesterday.
A statement said Hay’s visit was part of the programme for his official trip to the state.
Hay, who toured SBC’s proof-of-concept algae production facility, also took the opportunity to view and take photos of the tree planted by Prince Charles in 2017.
The tour focused on SBC’s key activities, specifically biodiversity discoveries towards the sustainability and ethical impact on communities in Sarawak
Hay and his delegates were given insights on the LitSara, Adenosara, and Sekiu Access and Benefit Sharing project, covering communities’ engagement, and the social impacts on the livelihoods, skills, and knowledge of communities.
They also visited the Natural Product Library, an exclusive collection from unique species of plants and micro-organisms from the rainforests of Borneo.
During the visit, SBC conveyed its keen interest in establishing potential collaborations with British counterparts in the bioindustry.
Hay noted there are great opportunities for British companies to collaborate with Sarawak in terms of biodiversity-related projects and research, as well as commercialisation.
He also planted an Engkabang Jantong tree (Shorea macrophylla) to commemorate his visit.
This species is endemic to Borneo and locally abundant in mixed dipterocarp forest, and it was listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The oil from the seeds is known as ‘butter from the rainforest’ and is used in cosmetic products. It is also one of the species that provides high quality timber.