Curious hands unfurl leaves of a cabbage plant at a patch in Kundasang, about 60kms from Kota Kinabalu. For decades, Kundasang has been the centre of temperate vegetable and fruit cultivation in Sabah.
The cultivation of cabbages, carrots, capsicums and asparagus were introduced in Kundasang by Christian missionaries to the indigenous Kadazandusuns of the area in the 1950s.
Sadly though, fuelled by demand for local temperate vegetables, 'outsiders' have been making a beeline for Kundasang and acquired land there. They have resorted to employing cheap but poorly educated Indonesian migrant labour to grow these vegetables. And for years there have been persistent worries that these vegetables contain excessive amounts of pesticide and fertiliser.