The federal government will set up a national dairy board early next year to plan and drive the holistic and integrated development of the country’s dairy industry.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said the board, which would be headed by the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry, would among others be aimed at encouraging the people to drink fresh milk.
He said several other ministries such as the health, education and higher education ministries, as well as the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) would also be members of the board.
“This does not involve only one ministry as there is a need for various expertise, and the combined involvement of the various ministries as an integrated effort will ensure the achievement of the national objective,” he added.
Najib was speaking to reporters after a visit to the Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre (MSCRIC) today.
Najib said the establishment of the board was among the efforts of the government to ensure adequate supply of milk by 2050.
“We are targeting Malaysians to drink 50 litres of fresh milk annually in 2050 and for that demand, we need 2,290 billion litres of fresh milk each year with about 502,000 cattle compared to 21,000 cattle now.
“The agriculture and agro-based industry ministry has set a target to increase the per capita consumption of milk from 19.92 litres or about 20 litres per year.”
Meanwhile, Najib said the education ministry would also be told to reduce the usage of UHT milk under the 1Malaysia Milk Programme as the milk drink for school students in the effort to raise the consumption of fresh milk in stages.
“…if we adopt a culture of drinking milk, we will obtain much nutrients and the future generations will be stronger, healthier and have bigger build.
“All these would be possible with sufficient supply of protein and calcium by drinking milk, and we must encourage drinking fresh milk and not UHT milk,” said the prime minister.
In this regard, Najib said MSCRIC would develop a dairy valley with a section as an eco-tourism product at Muadzam Shah and Pahang in general.
He said tourists visiting the centre would get the experience of seeing for themselves, the processes of cattle rearing and the dairy industry.
“So, we can see how the industry gives benefits from various aspects and we plan it as a national project known as Muadzam Dairy Valley,” he added.
Najib said it would cover areas in Muadzam, Segamat, Pekan to Panching in Kuantan.
MSCRIC led by The Holstein Milk Company Sdn Bhd (Holstein), is a public-private partnership project started by East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) in 2012.
In conjunction with the working visit, Najib also took the opportunity to visit a new RM5 million dairy processing factory beside the centre, expected to be ready by year-end.
Apart from that, he also presented appointment letters to six Holstein satellite farmers as the first participants of the project, as well as certificates to three micro entrepreneurs via the Home Dealer programme as the most successful ECER programme which is an inspiration to other micro entrepreneurs. –Bernama