Mulberry Tourism Makes its Entry in Sabah, Borneo

Tourists infatuation for food and authentic experience is pushing Sabah to create new tourism destinations around the mulberry…

Could Sabah be turned into the next place to visit for fruits lovers? This could be the case according to the Borneo Post at Kiulu Farmstay. Tucked away in a green pristine small valley, Kiulu Farmstay is situated at Kiulu River, worthwhile for any travellers interested in becoming immersed in the local life of Sabah locals. This beautiful farmstay is a community based ecotourism project that acts as a catalyst for community development and capacity building. The community is to be found in Northwestern Sabah in the district of Tuaran.

The Kiulu assemblyman said he hoped to turn Kiulu into a food hub for the production of local fruits as well as in the production of mulberry. Presently, mulberry is being planted at Kampung Tudan, an isolated village which is 50 kilometres away from Kiulu.

The project was initiated by students participating in the National Enactus competition that was held in Kuala Lumpur recently. The students won the competition and would be going for the world cup competition which will be held in London next month. The students started the project five months ago and got the involvement of 56 people from the village cooperative.

The villagers have planted 1,500 trees and have produced mulberry tea, skin whitening lotion utilising mulberry extracts and bottled sparkling water. Mulberry fruits and leaves help to feed silkworms and also produce natural dye for clothing.

“We hope STB can help us in marketing the products produced by the villagers,” said Dr Bonaventure. He added that the climate and soil condition in Kiulu were suited for mulberry farming.

The proposal to market the products was received positively by STB chairman Joniston Bangkuai. Mr. Bangkuai explained that STB has a marketing body, Sri Pelancongan, which could help promote the product at its network of shops. “We plan to open more shops in the future,” he said.

He also told members of the cooperative from the village that plans have been made to improve the road from Tudan to Kiulu. He added that once the road was completed, it would be easier for the  the villagers to market their produce.

The majority of the folk living in the village work as farmers but until recently, they have not been exposed to the true potential of the mulberry plants that are found in their village. The first mulberry project helped already villagers to increase their monthly income from RM517 per month to RM700 (US$120 to US$175)

The project has also brought about better communal cooperation between the villagers through the establishment of the village cooperative and they also have been exposed to business and cultivation management through workshops conducted by Enactus UMS.