The National Farmers Organisation (NAFAS) has agreed to buy a piece of industrial land in Gurun, Kedah worth and estimated RM80.5 million (USD$25.6 million) in order to build a livestock feed mill factory to meet domestic demand.
Its chairman Datuk Seri Saipolbahari Suib said the construction of NAFAS' own livestock feed mill would be implemented as soon as possible as it was in the nation's interest.
"In the nation's interest, the animal feed mill project in Gurun is now our priority and NAFAS has decided to delay the construction of its fertiliser factory in Sarawak costing RM170 million (USD$51 million) .
"The allocation of RM170 million (USD$51 million) would instead be channelled to the Gurun plant to ensure that the livestock feedmill project could be realised as soon as possible," he said.
When operational later, he said the feed mill would have the capacity to meet a large portion of the demand from local farmers.
"The capacity of the Gurun plant would be in accordance to the requirements of local livestock farmers," he said.
Saipolbahari said the development of the factory in Gurun would indirectly reduce the cost of livestock feed in the local market by 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
While waiting for its Gurun plant to come onstream, he said NAFAS, in a bid to meet the domestic demand in the short term, had cooperated with several local parties to produce the animal feed.
This included the joint venture with a non-Bumiputera company to increase the production capacity of its animal feed in one month, he said.
Besides that, NAFAS also collaborated with Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) in the production of animal feed for the domestic market.
It had also increased the production capacity of its existing plant in Pagoh, Johor, from 10 tonnes per month to 20 tonnes per month, he said.
Saipolbahari said the development of the new factory in Gurun would also control any hikes in the cost of the product in the local market.
At present, local farmers frequently cited the rising cost of animal feed as the main cause for the increase in the market prices of livestock such as chicken, goat and cattle during festive seasons.
Saipolbahari said when the cost of animal feed could be reduced, then the farmers would have no reasons to increase the price of livestock in the market that burden the consumers.
"At the same time, we can guarantee the continuity in the country's livestock industry by ensuring that their operational costs are low and not soar so much so that it threatens their future," he said.