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Sabah’s own little New Zealand
Published on: Saturday, April 23, 2016

By Mary Chin
THE 199-hectare Desa Cattle Dairy Farm at Mesilau in Kundasang is increasingly becoming a household word among Malaysians, Sabahans in particular.

Notably, it is now added to the list of attractions that Sabah has to offer as an ideal tourist destination.

By virtue of its grassland resemblance and 550 heads of cattle (including calves) of the Holstein Friesian breed imported from New Zealand, locals have coined the scenic area as the Little New Zealand of Sabah, now being spread by word of mouth and through the social media.

The Holstein Friesian breed of cattle comes in both black and white form or red and white form.

This dairy breed is known for its high milk yield, rated as the world’s highest production dairy animals.

In fact, Holstein Friesians form 60pc of New Zealand’s national dairy herd.

Thousands of visitors, including Chinese tourists and Peninsular Malaysians, thronged the Desa Dairy Farm on the first day of Chinese New Year. Shortly before closure at 5pm, cars were still seen heading to the area.

On public holidays, especially during the festive season, as many as 3,500 people come a-calling daily for a rare close encounter with the Holstein Friesians.

Old and young alike love it, simply enjoying a panoramic view of the dairy farm where cattle are grazing in the fields at the foothills of the majestic Mount Kinabalu or getting the thrill of feeding the calves at the calf pen.

And there is a bay for viewing the cows at the two Desa barns with a total capacity of 320. One can take a peek into the milking process at the milking parlour, scheduled at 2.30pm daily or alternatively, visit the milk processing plant just next to the shops selling packets of fresh milk, flavoured ice-cream and souvenirs.

Desa Cattle produces about 60,000 litres of fresh milk per months, mainly for local supermarkets and exports to neighbouring Sarawak.

Going by the long queues that spilled over into the compound, fresh milk was a favourite item of the crowd, with many wishing that more sales counters were opened for the occasion.

The only disappointment expressed by visitors is over the deplorable condition of the road leading to the farm.

It’s a broken road with numerous potholes.

Hopefully, the relevant authorities will address the situation, lest it becomes a deterrent to potential visitors and tourists.

“We were not aware of the atrocious state of the road until we came. We couldn’t believe it because all the pictures that were posted on the Internet depicted the beauty of Little New Zealand of Sabah,” lamented one family.

Right now, people are willing to drive 100km from the State capital to Mesilou just to capture the view of Little New Zealand of Sabah but the last stretch of the journey (about a kilometre or so) leaves much to be desired.

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