THREE dairy valleys will be built in Perak and Selangor by the end of the year to increase the local production of dairy produce and reduce imports.
Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin said this was in line with the ministry’s five-point road map launched in February.
He said the valleys would be built in Lembah Bernam, Selangor, and Lembah Alim and Larut in Perak to provide dairy farmers the space they needed to rear cattle.
“The sustainable development of the local dairy industry will ensure Malaysians have access to high quality milk and create job opportunities for dairy farmers.
“There are great opportunities for farmers to expand their business and increase their production to fill the gap in Malaysia’s dairy sector,” said Sim.
He was speaking at the launch of Dutch Lady Malaysia’s Farmer2Farmer Programme 2019 at the official residence of the Netherlands ambassador in Kuala Lumpur.
Last year, the government imported RM3.9bil worth of dairy products, from cheese to yoghurt. Sim added that the new initiative would help lower the cost as the output from local farmers would increase.
He said by engaging with local dairy farmers and companies, the ministry planned to increase Malaysia’s self sufficient level (SSL), which stands at 58.25%, to 100% within five years.
Sim said the government was confident that the agriculture sector could be a major contributor in growing the national growth domestic profit (GDP).
Aimed at helping develop a sustainable dairy farming business in Malaysia, the Farmer2Farmer Programme 2019 programme began in 2013 as a partnership between Dutch Lady Malaysia and the Department of Veterinary Services.
Netherlands ambassador Karin Mossenlechner said the programme represented the tripartite partnership between Malaysia, the Netherlands and Dutch Lady Malaysia.
“We share our expertise especially in food production with the developing nations of the world. We are committed to a free global market that is filled with safe, sustainably-produced food,” she said.
The programme is also meant to be an incentive to encourage younger people to get involved in the dairy farming industry.
Sim said the government was willing to allocate more resources to the agricultural sector.
To make the industry more appealing, he said the government had put in place various incentives, from low interest loans to grants, for young entrepreneurs.