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Keningau Tuhau seller makes RM4,000 monthly
Published on: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

KENINGAU: The uncertainty in commodity prices, particularly rubber and oil palm, Eka @ Timang Agaras and her husband Sirut Sumiloh, 53, have taken a new path by dabbling in the umbut tuhau (wild ginger of Borneo or the soft shoot of an edible palm tree stem) business to sustain their family.

It has proven to be a fruitful move as their new business earns them a monthly income of up to RM4,000.

Eka, 52, a mother of eight from Kampung Mosopoh Ulu Nabawan, said being creative and not relying too much on a single source of income were the reasons for their success.

“It takes creativity to find new ways to survive. Be diligent and don’t give up easily,” she told Bernama here.

Sharing the story of her early involvement in the umbut tuhau business, Eka, who has always had the support of her husband, said they both agreed to exploit the tuhau trees, that grow wildly at a rubber plantation, for sale at the Keningau, Sook and Nabawan weekly open air markets.

“Our efforts were not in vain because on the first day at the Keningau market we sold tuhau worth RM400 within a few hours.

“That is more than what we made from rubber tapping,” she said.

Tuhau (scientific name, etlingera coccinea) is also known as ‘umbut tepus’ . It grows wildly in the rainforests of Borneo  especially in the Keningau, Nabawan, Tambunan and Tenom areas.

The herb species of the ginger family is well-known in Sabah as a traditional food for a wide variety of dishes according to consumer tastes, such as pickles, serunding (rousong) and ulam (raw salad).

In view of the overwhelming response, Eka and her husband continued their small business as their income exceeded expectations.

She said as rubber tappers in the Nabawan district, they had never earned RM4,000 a month.

Many natural resources can be a source of income if only one is creative and hard-working, she said.

Eka added that she and her husband were planning to grow tuhau commercially in her hometown to ensure the herbs were readily available.

According to her, the tuhau from Kampung Mosopoh Nabawan now has regular buyers from Johor.

Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) officer Abd Keningau Abd. Kassim Salim when asked to comment on the couple’s achievements, said Fama was always ready to provide advice to them specifically on how to expand their market.



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