New Straits Times, Nation Pg. 24 – 19 February 2008
PUTRAJAYA: A consortium has been set up to increase beef production from the current 20 per cent of demand to 40 per cent by 2015.
The National Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd will import breeding stock to raise production to 153,600 metric tonnes a year in seven years.
“This has been laid down in the national beef policy, aimed at fulfilling national needs and reducing imports,” said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when closing a seminar on the industrial development of beef production at his ministry yesterday.
He said the consortium will import live cattle from several countries, including Australia, which will be supplied to feedlots or satellite farms all over the country. The government has set aside RM230 million under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for the purpose.
There are currently 310 feedlots in the country and each rears 50 to 200 cattle.
Muhyiddin said it was hoped the number of cattle they reared could increase to 200 and 1,000, through attractive loan packages from Bank Pertanian.
Over two million hectares of oil palm plantations will be used for integrated cattle production and about 39,000ha of grazing reserve belonging to the state governments will be utilised.
The private sector will be encouraged to be directly involved in building nucleus farms to fulfil the country’s needs for pure breeds. The government will provide expertise and incentives in the form of tax exemption or soft loans.
In certain cases, investors involved in “reverse investment”, producing and multiplying imported breeds, will be given incentives.
And to ensure the supply of good quality and productive breeds, the Veterinary Services Department has created “nucleus beef cattle breeder” farms in Tersat, Tanah Merah, Ulu Lepar and Jelai.
These are expected to produce and supply 1,000 head of bulls and 1,600 head of female pure breeders a year by 2010.
Muhyiddin, however, said there were doubts that this “modest target” of 40 per cent could be reached in view of the closure of Syarikat Maju Ternak in the 1990s.
“It was a bad experience but a good lesson for all of us. That failure should not stop us from working hard to meet our target as stated in the policy.”