Malaysia will build feed mills to support and develop the livestock industry as part of efforts to increase beef supply for local consumption.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, Noh Omar, said Marditech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mardi, and Sime Darby (KLSE:4197), will be asked to venture into the field to overcome shortage of the meat in the country as well as to overcome the problem of high price now.
Institute of Agricultural Research and Development Malaysia (Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute) (MARDI) was established with the objective of developing and to improve appropriate new technology and related industries in agriculture in Malaysia.
"The government will offer an area in the Kluang, a town in southern Johor-state in Peninsular Malaysia, modern agriculture project for the mill and at the same time encourage farmers in the country to grow crops for the feed like corn and tapioca using the contractual farming concept," he told Malaysian journalists here Monday.
Noh, who is heading a delegation of senior government officials and officials of government-linked companies, is here to visit the Bekri feedlot cattle centre, P.T. Sentosa Agrindo, as well as the livestock feed producing centre at the Japfa Commfeed and Fodder Cultivation Area here today.
The delegation includes his ministry's secretary-general, Mohd Mokhtar Ismail, and the director-general of the Malaysian Veterinary Services Department, Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin.
Noh said in efforts to further develop the livestock industry, especially cattle, he had asked the Veterinary Services Department to draft a new policy for cattle rearing in the country.
The policy must have two components namely purchase of cattle to be fattened in the country and purchase of cattle for reproduction.
"Supply of beef locally is still insufficient and we have to import the meat from several countries and the amount has to be increased each festive season," he said.
The minister said the cattle rearing industry, especially using the feedlot concept, had high potential for growth and the feedlots would benefit farmers who grow crops for the industry using the contractual farming concept or satellite farming.
Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz said the farmers in Malaysia would be encouraged to grow fodder grass like 'napier' or corn to support the industry under the green earth project.
He said under the green earth project farmers involved in planting fodder crops will be assisted with seed supply, fertilisers and marketing by the government.
Private sector companies that become millers would ensure purchase of the fodder, he said.
The P.T. Santosa Agrindo feedlot centre, or known by its short name Santori, which was visited by the Malaysian delegation is a modern facility using the bio-security method.
The 72ha centre can accomodate 20,000 cows and is the centre to introduce cattle from Australia for the Indonesian market.
For example, a Brahman Cross breed cow from Australia that comes aged between one and one-and-a-half years and weighing 350kg can be fattened at the feedlots to be between 400-500kg in 100 days.
The Wagyu Cross breed cow brought to the centre with a weight of 250kg can weigh 500kg between 300-600 days.
The Wagyu Cross at the feedlot can be bred with the Australian Angus and it has better quality meat which can be sold at a higher price.
Santori is managed in an integrated manner, where food supply for the cattle is processed in its godown in the same compound with corn and tapioca grown in the same area, besides buying more from local farmers under the contractual farming concept.
The cow dung, washed away from the cement floors of the cow pens each day, is drained to a holding area closed with special plastic covers and can produce biogas for power generation.
The biogas project at Santori which began in 1997 is in its last stages of experimentation and is expected to be commercialised next year.
The gas produced at the biogas centre has the capacity to generate 1 megawatt of energy.