Livestock in plantations the way to boost meat supply

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has huge potential for integration of domestic livestock farming with the oil palm plantation to increase the state’s self-sufficiency in meat.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said that with a vast area of about two million hectares of oil palm plantations, the opportunity is there for integration of ruminant with the palm oil industry to reduce the state’s dependency on meat imports.

“Lately, it’s been a challenge for us to increase our self-sufficiency on ruminant meat because of various factors such as the increase of price of ruminant feed due to war in Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

“These have affected the production of raw materials for ruminant feed such as soy, maize and wheat in the producing countries.

“Therefore, we need to think of ways to produce our own meat supply,” he said in his speech yesterday when officiating the state-level Farm Day in Keningau.

He said integrating ruminant with plantation is a workable strategy, considering that palm kernel cake is one of the sources of food for ruminants, other than palm fronds.

Other than oil palm plantations, Kitingan, who is Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, said idle land could also be utilised for growing grass, particularly napier grass, as a food source for ruminants.

Earlier, the director of the Veterinary Services Department (DVS), Dr Normah Yusop, said the self-sufficiency level (SSL) for meat production in Sabah is below 10%, which is very low.

She said Sabah is still highly dependent on imports from countries like India and Australia.

However, she said DVS has taken steps to increase the level of production by working with government-linked companies to develop the ruminant industry in the state.

Among the strategic plans is to develop the Borneo Dairy Valley via cooperation with Sabah Land Development Board and Keningau Livestock Integrated Centre.

Dr Normah added that another collaboration is with Sawit Kinabalu on cattle breeding.

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