Empower entrepreneurs to achieve self-sufficiency in fresh milk

KUALA LUMPUR: The local dairy industry has the potential to grow if existing industry players are further empowered, thus increasing domestic fresh milk production.

More importantly, it can reduce dependence on foreign products and reduce imports, hence helping the government achieve the target of 100% self-sufficiency level (SSL) in the country’s fresh milk production in the next five years.

According to sources at the Veterinary Services Department, the SSL for fresh milk in 2018 was 61.3% while that for dairy milk products was just 3.1%.

Local dairy industry player Azmi Zainal, 54, said steps to empower existing entrepreneurs could be made through government collaboration with the private sector, educational institutions such as Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

He felt that the initiative to develop existing entrepreneurs is easier to undertake because the group already has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the industry.

“The government needs to pay attention to these ‘old’ entrepreneurs, enhance them because they already have the experience, no need to teach them the basics.

“Just need to inject the capital (for the business), find the bank (for financing), find the land (to operate the dairy farm), he can grow from small to medium-scale entrepreneur.

“When financial institutions are already convinced with the business undertaken, he can upscale,” he said.

Azmi believes that such a strategy requires the engagement of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry besides taking into account the assistance and encouragement that should be given.

This is because the country’s dairy industry has great potential if given special attention, including the selection of high quality livestock that are  suitable for the hot and humid weather in Malaysia.

Azmi, who is also the operations director of The Holstein Milk Co Sdn Bhd (Holstein Milk) also said that the private sector should have a sense of responsibility to help develop local entrepreneurs as the industry is a high SSL contributor to the country’s fresh milk production.

Holstein Milk, the manufacturer of Farm Fresh milk, now controls 45% of Malaysia’s fresh milk market with a total production of 19 million litres of raw milk a year.

The company has more than 7,000 cattle in its farms in Muadzam Shah in Pahang; Mawai and Desaru in Johor; UPM in Selangor; and Melbourne in Australia; and will be opening another in Perak with an investment of about RM30 mil. – Jan 30, 2020, Bernama

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