KUCHING, Nov 29: The Sarawak government has set aside RM17.7 million to turn Limbang and Lawas into a buffalo breeding and meat production hub.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said special aid would be given to existing farmers and livestock breeders under the programme.
The funds will be channelled over the course of the 11th Malaysia Plan, which runs till 2020.
“They would be taught modern farm management techniques and the application of artificial insemination as an option to induce more births,” Uggah, who is also Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, said in a statement today.
The minister was in Limbang to present a grant of RM1.2 million to help 484 breeders repair or upgrade fencing of their 34 communal farms.
Assistant Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdul Rahman lsmail was also present at the function held at Kampung Bidang.
Uggah deemed Limbang and Lawas, traditional buffalo breeding regions in the state, as two areas with big potential for meat production.
“In 2000, the region recorded about 12,000 buffaloes at any one time, but now the population has declined to 5,500. The absence of proper farm management contributed to the decline.
“Our immediate focus is to bring back the numbers from 5,500 to 11,000 by 2025. If we can do this, it will bring more income to the breeders. In the broader picture, we will be on our way to achieving self-sufficiency level for meat supply,” he said at the event.
Uggah also mentioned that between 2010 and 2017, about 7,805 buffaloes costing over RM35 million were sold without any matching new births.
He expressed his confidence that the programme would be a success without facing market issues, considering the constant and big demand from neighbouring Brunei, especially during Hari Raya Korban.
He believed that if the farmers showed similar commitment to developing the sector, added with government aid, management courses and technological input, the 11,000 target could be met.
“We have the Limbang buffalo valley here, where we concentrate to reorganise and transform the industry. We will bring in more new stocks or obtain supplies of semen for artificial insemination to increase the population,” he continued.
During his trip to the state’s northern region, Uggah also paid a visit to a buffalo entrepreneur programme farm owned by Henry Chuan Teck at Kampung Kuala Awang.
Henry, a participant of the state Agriculture Department’s Buffalo Pawah programme, currently has 62 buffaloes on his 32-hectare farm and earns between RM26,000 and RM45,000 annually.
Uggah said the farm was considered for a pilot project on better farm management. — DayakDaily