Participation in palm oil industry activities comes in two forms, said village chief KK Entabang anak Endawan: either on a large scale through a joint venture with multi-industry company Rimbunan Hijau or on a small scale through privately owned plantations.
Aside from commodity crops, villagers at Kampung Sebandi Hulu are involved in fruit and vegetable farming, as well as prawn fishery along Batang Kayan that flows through the village. These agricultural produce are then sold at markets in Lundu town as well as in the village itself.
Since becoming part of the Sarawak Government’s Rural Transformation Programme (Program Transformasi Luar Bandar), the village has benefited from various assistance provided by Department of Agriculture (DOA) Sarawak in enhancing its agricultural activities.
These assistance are mainly farming supplies; KK Entabang noted that villagers usually take the initiative to clear the land, purchase their own seedlings and plant on their own before seeking government’s support.
However, he hoped that economic activities at Kampung Sebandi Hulu can be diversified beyond commodity crops.
In the case of the agriculture sector, the village, through the collaboration between DOA Sarawak and Lundu District Office, will be venturing into the fish farming industry, where future allocation is being made to clean fish pond areas, obtain supply of fish fry, install PVC pipes for fish ponds and others.
Lundu District Office is also encouraging villagers to join training programmes organised by DOA Sarawak to learn how to operate farms and open farming areas within the village.
Kampung Sebandi Hulu was popular among tourists for its traditional longhouses until these buildings were caught in a fire and reconstructed into one-family kampung houses.
Since then, the village is known as a fishing spot for giant freshwater prawns (udang galah), in which villagers who own boats rent them out to fishing enthusiasts mainly from Kuching during the weekends, particularly during peak season between February and June.
Noting the importance of river fishery in terms of agriculture and tourism sectors, Lundu District Office has outlined a future project involving the reconstruction of the village’s two jetties, which are presently dilapidated.
Perhaps an aspect of the village that can lead to its revival as a tourist destination is its Iban culture through its handicrafts and ngajat.
In fact, KK Entabang has plans to organise handicraft classes, particularly handwoven mats, baskets and pua kumbu, to encourage the older generation to teach the young ones in order to keep the craft and skills alive for the future generation.
To support the village’s effort, Lundu District Office has made contact with Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak to help promote tourism products and highlight ngajat – both of which have help defined the cultural identity of Kampung Sebandi Hulu.