Dato' Haji Aliasak Haji Ambia is the President of the National Association of SmallHolders (NASH). NASH represents thousands of small farmers in Malaysia who grow crops including rubber, oil palm and cocoa. Dato' Aliasak is clear that many small farmers have converted from other crops, such as rubber, to oil palm, as it provides a stable income, high crop yields, and is a reliable, long-term investment for the small farmer and his/her family.
Dato' Aliasak has seen first-hand the role that small farmers play in the future of Malaysia. Crops such as oil palm have allowed the rural poor to become titled landowners, to grow and manage their own land, and to take control of their own economic destiny. Oil palm has lifted thousands of NASH small farmers to an income level where the future is bright and they are able to substantially improve the welfare of their families. And with initiatives to develop greater value from the oil palm, through biomass and integrating small farmers in downstream sectors, Malaysian small farmers stand to gain even more through the cultivation of oil palm.
Dato' Aliasak has an important role as President of NASH. Just as in Europe and the U.S.A., where small farmers produce vital food stuffs and play important roles in society and the management of the natural environment, the same is true in Malaysia. NASH helps to ensure that small farmers around Malaysia have access to the latest information on new technologies and scientific research, so that the small farmers can better make use of their land, through improved efficiencies, advice on species conservation, and many other important factors.