Thomas Lamit anak Lutek is passionate about farming, and about his role in the local oil palm planting community. He has been a small farmer of oil palm for over 20 years, and has built up a valuable store of information, experience and understanding of growing and cultivating oil palm.
Thomas puts this experience and expertise to good use, in his role as a village elder in Sematan, Sarawak. He provides advice to other small farmers, and helps them speak with a stronger voice when dealing with other local and national organizations. Thomas is very enthusiastic about the benefits that the cultivation of oil palm has brought to Sarawak – in particular the good income it provides for local people, guarantees land titles and property rights, provides substantial societal benefits for the local community. The oil palm small farmers scheme in Sarawak has built roads, education facilities, and healthcare centers, all of which improve the lives and future prospects of the palm oil small farmers.
Thomas is critical of outside organizations who may not understand the importance of oil palm to Sarawak, but who have criticized those who grow it. Rather than speaking in place of small farmers, he invites NGOs to come and witness how the crop has benefitted the community and its importance not just for achieving food security, but bringing this prosperity to the world.