KUALA LUMPUR: Prices of cows and goats will not be regulated for the coming Hari Raya Haji festivities, says Agriculture and Agro-based minister.
Datuk Seri Shabery Cheek said that the livestock prices would be determined by supply and demand.
He assured the public that there would sufficient stock of cows and goats for the Raya, with additional number of cattle being imported from Australia and Thailand.
The Veterinary Services Department estimates the korban (sacrificial ritual) would require around 26,200 cows and 12,324 goats, while its statistics shows Malaysia has 54,200 cows and 40,493 goats in stock.
“Based on these estimates, we believe there will be enough stock for this year’s Raya,” he said.
Asked about the higher prices of animals, Shabery admitted that the imported animals had driven up the costs but said it was still within manageable levels.
“If we force the price down, sellers might not want to import animals in the future,” he said, adding that the ministry would keep an eye on the impact of the prices on consumers.
Speaking at the Livestock Asia 2015 exhibition, Shabery said the rising US dollar makes it increasingly more pressing for the local agriculture industry to be self-sufficient. He said although Malaysia produced 130% of the poultry it needed – with the 30% in excess exported – the industry was still dependant on imported feed.
“Luckily, commodity prices have gone down, balancing out the higher dollar,” said Shabery.
He added that prolonged increase in production costs would eventually be pushed to consumers, and in an extreme case, passing on the costs would make food unaffordable and effect the nation’s food security.
The minister called on local agriculture producers and entrepreneurs to step up their efforts and develop “export-centric thinking” in their business in addition to producing for the local market.
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