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By Yee Mei and Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Jan 17: Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister, Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, hopes to brief Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg on producing animal feed from oil palm waste by March.
Dr Rundi said this during his opening remarks when officiating at the first Sarawak-Dutch Food Security Workshop at Pullman Hotel here today.
“This is a real task for me,” said Dr Rundi, light-heartedly adding that he had to wake up early to read books on how to deliver this.
“By March, I must brief him (Abang Johari), and by June, it must be able to be implemented,” he said.
He also thanked Abang Johari for the idea, describing him as a ‘visionary leader’ who can keep pace with what is happening to prevent complacency from taking over.
“I’m indeed thankful to the Premier for his idea of trying to convert waste from oil palm into animal feed, which is an issue today not only in Sarawak and Malaysia but the world over.
“We want to convert waste, especially (from) oil palm so that we can at least try to produce animal feed and reduce prices. With the current global economy, and because our currency is weak, the price to buy raw materials, such as corn (to make animal feed), costs a lot,” he said.
Meanwhile, the event also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dr Rundi’s ministry and the Sarawak Metropolitan Food Cluster (SFMC) Consortium, a Sarawak-Dutch outfit to develop Metropolitan Food Clusters (MFCs), which is the first such initiative in the region.
The signing and exchange of documents were witnessed by Abang Johari and the Netherlands Ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency Jacques Werner.
Amongst those present were Deputy Minister of Food Industry Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail and Deputy Minister of Commodity and Regional Development Martin Ben.
According to a press release, the MFC concept used by the Netherlands addresses food production chains and sustainability issues by transforming rural landscapes in close proximity to urbanised areas into a circular economy, linking food production areas to internal and external markets that positively impact social and economic development.
It integrates key elements in the agricultural ecosystem: horticulture/greenhouses, livestock, animal feed production, aquaculture, processing centres, consolidation, and collection centres, among others. — DayakDaily