Sabah discontinues cattle imports from Australia
Published on: Friday, April 19, 2019

The Sabah Government has discontinued its practice of importing dairy and beef cattle from Australia after discovering discrepancies in the system.

In his winding-up speech at the Sabah Assembly Thursday, State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Junz Wong   said over the last decade, Sabah had been spending between RM12 million and RM15 million a year to import dairy and beef cattle from Australia.

However, Wong said despite hundreds of millions of ringgit spent over the years, beef production in the state remains less than 25pc.

During his trip to Australia to investigate this matter, Wong said he found no tender process existed to buy cows from Australia.

Instead, he found one farm specialising in rearing a special cross-breed cattle for import to Sabah, possibly a breed between an Indian or African cattle with dairy cattle from Australia.

“When I met with the cattle experts there, they were unfamiliar with the breed (exported to Sabah) and testified that this type of cattle was not bred by Australians on a large scale.”

Wong said the agreement was for Sabah to buy a certain number of cattle annually. This year alone, the state government was supposed to spend between RM9,000 and RM12,000 per animal.

“The farm is selling each one for up to RM20,000. So, we stopped it. There had been no open tenders.

“They rear for us and we buy from them.

“From now on, we are going to buy from local breeders. We will no longer give the cattle to individual farmers but to anchor companies,” he said.

The Tanjung Aru Assemblyman also said the import of cattle into Sabah from Australia had always been handled by two companies over the past decade.

“The policy was to distribute these cattle to local breeders. Some got 50, some 30 and others 15.

“We are not going to do that any more because this policy is never going to succeed,” he said.

Thus, he invited interested parties to contact the ministry and they will be provided with the business model to make their companies a success.

Wong said the industry promises multi-million ringgit returns and urged local industry players to assist the government reach its objective of reducing food imports.

He added the government is also considering imposing taxes on beef importing licences so that the price of imported beef can be level with those of locally-produced beef. On another note, Wong said his ministry has decided to build at least 150 swiftlet houses statewide and to give it to eligible locals selected from the B40 and e-Kasih pool.

“Each district will get its share of free bird nest houses, based on the number of swiftlets in the areas.

“This time around, we will build the houses ourselves because we don’t want a repeat of what happened previously when the bird nest houses were built by contractors but did not follow specifications.

“As a result, the number of swiftlets was unable to compensate for the cost of the project and the government ended up on the losing side,” he said.

Photo Source: Bernama


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