KOTA KINABALU: This year’s Kaamatan (harvest festival) will kick off with a ‘seed run’, with the goal of promoting environmental conservation and Sabah’s biodiversity.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said this will entail identifying and collecting fruit and paddy seeds from every district in Sabah.
“The seeds will then be presented to my ministry (state Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry) for planting and propagation.
“This is a significant event because after enduring a year of Covid-19, the lockdown, loss of jobs, and the economic downturn, we are grateful we still have our health, and fortunate to be alive.
“And like these seeds, we have the opportunity to grow again," he said in a statement here.
The state Kaamatan organising chairman expressed hope that the programme will bring the people together to celebrate their diversity and have great aspiration for the future.
He added that this year's Kaamatan will also endorse the United Nations’ World Biodiversity Day which is observed on May 22 annually to raise understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
"Traditionally, Kaamatan is a celebration of good harvest and the organising committee believes it is vital that the festival returns to its roots.
"Ultimately, Kaamatan is about food supply and it is fitting that the celebration is about Sabah’s fertile ground and its ability to feed its children during this difficult time," he remarked.
Jeffrey said the committee has also agreed that the launching ceremony will take place on May 1 while the peace-making Adat ceremony will be held on May 29, both in Penampang.
“In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘Borderless Kaamatan for Peace and Reconciliation’, the organising committee has been hard at work to ensure that merrymaking is still possible while adhering to the strict standard operating procedure (SOP) by the Health Ministry, ” he said.
While not everybody would be able to make their way to Hongkod Koisaan building in Penampang this year, they can still celebrate Kaamatan in their own villages and districts, he said.
Jeffrey however hoped the ongoing national immunisation campaign may bring better news come May, and SOPs would be relaxed for those who have been vaccinated by then.