Sarawak sees potential in federal govt’s proposal for buffalo cheese production

Uggah (fourth right) in a meeting with Dr Abdul Latiff (second left) during the courtesy visit today, together with other officials.

KUCHING, July 2: Sarawak welcomes the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD)’s proposal to strengthen its buffalo breeding programme to enable the production of premium buffalo cheese.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, received the proposal, which was presented by its minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad, during the latter’s courtesy call on the former, here today.

According to Uggah, the Sarawak government would like know the details and requirements for the programme by MRD, and would like to have discussions with MRD’s investors and entrepreneurs.

“We already have our buffalo breeding programme centre in Limbang where we have over 5,000 heads of swamp buffalo. We also have a cattle farm in Darwin, Australia which includes some 2,500 wild buffaloes, and early this year, we brought over 250 of them to Limbang for distribution to farmers and some government agencies,” he revealed in a press statement today.

Uggah, who is also the Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, noted that the state was breeding buffaloes purely for its meat, and this has huge potential.

“But with this proposal, we can blend the objectives together, as Sarawak is embarking on a massive agriculture modernisation programme next year.

“So let us sit together for further discussion for this to materialise. It fits in very well with our socio-economic programme, and the state had already a good start with its existing buffalo rearing programme centred in Limbang and its vast geographical surrounding,” he added.

Earlier on, Dr Abdul Latiff in making the proposal, revealed cheese was a primary ingredient in cakes or as a breakfast item on its own, and that Malaysia imported about RM400 million worth of cheese annually from overseas, where the quality is not as expected, and can be adulterated with non-halal ingredients.

“We have American investors interested in this programme. If this proposal materialises, Sarawak can be a leading producer of halal cheese in the country, and according to experts, the best cheese is from buffalo milk,” he added.

On another note, Dr Abdul Latiff gave assurance the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government would engage openly with Sarawak instead of doing things in silos as had been practised by the previous government.

“Whatever we do for the people, we will ensure they will be for their full benefit. It is time for us to look at things together so that many of the problems they face can be successfully resolved,” he added. — DayakDaily