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Last Update: 25 Nov 2017
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Resource Centre - Peat Swamp DevelopmentResource Centre - Peat Swamp Development
Background

Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia, has the biggest reserve of peat land. Due to suitable agriculture land scarcity in the country, there is an increasing interest aming the private sector in agricultural investment in the state. In view of the various constraints in developing the midland and hinterland areas as well as the need to bring about an inter-regional development balance, commercial plantation development is now focused on peat land. Peat land supports a diverse natural resources which need to be managed on a sustainable basis to ensure sufficient and continuous supply of raw materials/resources for the manufacturing, construction and domestic sectors as well as for biodiversity and environment conservation.

Though a lot has been said about the potential of the vast track of peat soil, nonetheless various technical constraints need to be addressed in developing it. Clear demarcation of the potentiality of the area for different agricultural development has not been sufficiently covered.

There are a number of development studies been carried out to mark out the area for agricultural development. But the technical problems has not been addressed in full. Many recommendations are still based on the findings that have been carried out decades ago and taken in general. Guidelines for development have been provided based on a particular study and for that particular situation.

Based on the above outlined pressing factors, it is deemed pertinent that a research study should be executed to come out with a drainage requirement for peat land development and a guideline policy for water management in peat land development. This would enable the state to properly coordinate and enhance the overall development as well as to avoid conflicting land use in the region.


Peat Soil Distribution 

The coastal and riverine area covers about 19% of the state land area. This include both the fresh water peat (1.698 million hectares) and mangrove (154,000 hectares) areas. In general, peat soil are found mostly within the delta and stretching inland along the riverine of the Samarahan-Sadong, Lupar-Saribas, Rajang, Baram and Limbang river system.

 
Existing Major Landuse 

Most of the peat land is still covered by peat swamp forest. This include the Mixed Swamp Forest, Alan and Padang Jaya (1.262 million hectares).

The agriculture development in the peat is being dominated by coconut-cocoa and sago planting on traditional farming system. Oil Palm and sago on estate were actively introduced mostly in the 6 MP period and are generally confined within the Igan-Mukah region.

Subsequently numerous drainage and irrigation schemes has been implemented and proposed in the peat land area. Those schemes are generally being planted with coconut-cocoa, paddy and other mixed crops. Nonetheless, most of the schemes are still underutilised. Such shemes should be assessed to ensure for optimum utilisation.


Research & Development

The agricultural research on peat areas in the state was initiated by the DOA through the establishment of various peat research stations (vis Stapok, Sg Talau, etc). In the 6MP, PORIM established a peat research station covering the Anderson 1 - 3 in Sessang, Kalaka. This was later followed by the taking over of Sg. Talau station in Dalat by CRAUN for sago research purposes. MARDI is also proposing to develop research and development stationn in Sessang (next to PORIM)


Coastal Road Development

Coastal road development has been intensified since the 6 MP (1991 - 1995). In the 7 MP (1996 - 2000) period, it is expected that key development areas within the coastal zone will be provided with basic road network. These include the Balingian-Daro, Bruit Island, Seredeng-Tg. Manis, Tg. Manis-Belawai, Grigat-Kabong, Pusa-Beladin-Triso, Sebuyau-Sebangan-Simunjan and Lundu-Sempadi-Selang road networks.

Nonetheless, since the coastal study areas are very much being dissected by numerous large river system, the overall road networking development in the region are still not adequate

 
Distribution Of Peat Soils In Sarawak