Bamboo and ginger pioneers honoured at festival

TAMBUNAN: Two bamboo and ginger pioneers in this area received certificates of appreciation at the district level Bamboo and Ginger Festival held at Pisompuruan Square here last Thursday.

They are the late Peter Lupang Tingkalus, the bamboo pioneer, and Supilin Galingai, the ginger pioneer.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who officiated at the festival, presented the certificates to both recipients, with Mrs Cathrine Peter representing her late father in receiving his certificate.

The late Peter hailed from Bingkor, Keningau and was a Forestry Department employee who worked as a Forest Guard in 1936.

At the time, the number of bamboo plants in the Tambunan area had been greatly reduced due to uncontrolled bamboo consumption as it was used in almost all aspects of community life in the area.

After realising the problem and worrying about the extinction of bamboo plants in the area, Peter along with OKK Taliban had embarked on a preliminary effort to control the cutting and harvesting of bamboo trees by issuing special permits.

Special permits issued would be requested by the villagers on the condition that each one of the logged bamboos be replaced by planting 10 more bamboo shoots.

This step proved to be effective even until today as the local community could see the number of bamboo groups growing throughout the district.

The culture of planting bamboo among the population is still ongoing to this day and it is not surprising that in addition to being called ‘The Switzerland of the East’, Tambunan has also been proclaimed as the Bamboo Valley by a handful of outside communities.

Meanwhile, Supilin, born May 4, 1960, is a married man with five children from Kampung Tikolod Tambunan.

He started planting ginger in 1981, where ginger seeds were obtained from Yayang Sanat at Tamu Tambunan.

After a year of planting ginger, he saw that this commodity crop had a very high potential as the climate and condition of Tambunan’s landscape were very suitable for this crop.

He did not waste any time in making the decision to move from being a common cultivator to a grocery wholesaler to market the product outside the district around 1983.

The results were a turning point for the progress and development of the ginger industry in the district as more people began to cultivate ginger.

This was evident when many cultivators started opening and clearing forest areas to plant ginger on a larger scale.

The existence of a single ginger wholesaler at the time provided an advantage to ginger cultivators as they could sell their ginger directly to Supilin without having to worry about marketing and transportation problems.

Source : Borneo Post