Livestock industry needs to achieve self-sufficiency in food production

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Dec 9: Livestock industry players must improve their Self Sufficient Level (SSL) for the state to achieve production sustainability and become a competitive exporter of food products by 2030.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the target was to increase beef or cattle SSL in the state from the current 10 per cent to at least 50 per cent by the year 2030, mutton (seven per cent to 30 per cent) and cow, buffalo and goat milk from 0.7 per cent to 50 per cent.

He added that the government is looking to double its population of buffaloes from 5,500 to at least 11,000 within the next 12 years.

“Looking at the figure that we have, for beef or cattle the national SSL is 23.42 per cent, while for Sarawak only 10 per cent. For lamb, the national level is at 11.4 per cent, while Sarawak is seven per cent. Milk is 58.67 per cent for national, while Sarawak at only 0.7 per cent.

“Even our buffalo population had reduced from 11,000 in the year 2000 to 5,500 today. I urged industry players, entrepreneurs and farmers to focus on improving the state’s SSL because we have ample of landmass,” he said at the state Veterinary Services Department (DVS) appreciation dinner here on Saturday (Dec 8).

State DVS director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud was also present.

Dr Adrian (left) presenting a memento to Uggah.

Uggah, who is also the Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said the livestock industry is now considered a new source of wealth.

“I remembered, at the recent Agricultural and Agro-based Industry Sarawak conference, there was a speaker who proposed an oil palm-cattle integrated programme when presenting a topic on beef production.

“He (the speaker) cited land acquisition as one of the problem to carry out the such programme but land shouldn’t be a problem for Sarawak, as we have almost 2 million hectares of oil palm plantation, where 1 million hectares are matured oil palm.

“That should be one of the potential area for cattle farming as plantation owners don’t have to look for more land anymore,” he continued.

Uggah said at least five plantation owners including Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) have participated in the oil palm-cattle integration programme.

On another positive note, he said the state has reached 100 per cent SSL on par with the national level. Sarawak also recorded RM35 million worth of pork export this year, as well as RM50 million for export of birds nest.

To spur the livestock industry, Uggah suggested stakeholders to develop new breeding techniques of livestock to be more cost effective and high-yield with the latest technologies available, so that Sarawak would be able to keep up on improving its SSL.

He also called upon entrepreneurs to produce the state’s own livestock feed, considering that Sarawak has been importing some 90 per cent of livestock feed at current, which cost hundreds of millions of Ringgit.

“This (livestock feed import) is making our industry not that competitive, because like any agricultural products, we must be prepared to compete with the likes of Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

“We must be able to come up with lower cost of production and yield  better livestock breed,” he said. — DayakDaily