Back to its roots in biodiversity

KOTA KINABALU: This year’s Kaamatan (harvest festival) will kick off with a “seed run” aimed at promoting environmental conservation and Sabah’s biodiversity.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said this would entail identifying and collecting fruit and padi seeds from every district in Sabah.

“The seeds will then be presented to my ministry (the state Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry) for planting and propagation.

“This is a significant event because after enduring a year of Covid-19, lockdowns, job losses and the economic downturn, we are grateful to still have our health and be alive.

“Like these seeds, we have the opportunity to grow again, ” he said in a statement here yesterday.

Jeffrey, who is also the state Kaamatan organising chairman, hoped the programme would bring people together to celebrate their diversity and aspirations for the future.

This year’s Kaamatan, he added, would

also endorse the United Nations’ World Biodiversity Day, which is observed on May 22 annually to raise awareness of biodiversity issues.

“Traditionally, Kaamatan is a celebration of a good harvest and the organising committee believes it is vital that the festival returns to its roots.

“Ultimately, Kaamatan is about the food supply. It is fitting that the celebration is about Sabah’s fertile ground and its ability to feed its children during this difficult time, ” he said.He said the committee had also agreed that the launch ceremony would take place on May 1 while the peacemaking Adat ceremony would 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 (Covid-19) standard operating procedure set by the Health Ministry, ” he said.

He said he hoped the ongoing national immunisation campaign might bring better news come May, adding that the SOP would be relaxed for those who had been vaccinated by then.

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