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Two-pronged action plan on chicken, pork supply
Published on: Thursday, November 30, 2023
By: Mohd Izham Bin Hashim
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Two-pronged action plan on chicken, pork supply
Jeffrey, who is also State Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, explained that the Ministry did not have jurisdiction to control the prices of chicken and pork in the market.  - Pics for illustration only.
Kota Kinabalu: The State Agriculture Ministry has rolled out a two-pronged action plan incorporating short and long-term strategies to ensure sufficient supply of chicken and pork, while keeping prices affordable for consumers. 

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan said the State Government has abolished the approved permit (AP) to allow the imports of livestock products, which is among the Ministry’s short-term strategies to balance out supply sufficiency. 

“The move is in line with the Federal Government’s decision to allocate chicken and egg subsidies from February 2022 to November 2023, with RM175 million channelled to 2,369 chicken farmers throughout Sabah under the assistance scheme,” he said.

Jeffrey, who is also State Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, explained that the Ministry did not have jurisdiction to control the prices of chicken and pork in the market. 

He said this in response to Elopura Assemblyman Calvin Chong and Tanjung Aru Assemblyman Datuk Junz Wong. 

“From November 1, 2023, chicken is exempted from the Maximum Pricing for Chicken and Eggs (PHMAT) by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN). For chicken eggs, the maximum pricing is still being continued,” he said in his winding-up speech at the State Assembly, Wednesday. 

Jeffrey said the halt of maximum price controls for chicken is due to the coordination of targeted subsidies and production costs which have begun to stabilise. 

He pointed out that the skyrocketing prices of pork is caused by increased production cost and the lack of supply due to the impact of the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.  

“The State Government has set aside RM1,162,350 for six commercial operators and 106 pig farmers for the eradication of infected pigs in 2023, at a rate of RM350 per animal,” he said. 

On long-term plans for supply sufficiency and stable prices, Jeffrey said the State Veterinary Department is constantly carrying out engagement sessions with stakeholders through Industrial Council meetings, such as Sabah Livestock Association (SLA), importing agencies, companies and individuals in the industry. 

The DVS is also adopting “check and balance” to ensure the quantity of import and exports of chicken and pork remains balanced. 

Furthermore, Jeffrey said DVS Sabah is cooperating with the Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (Mardi) to develop Saga chicken breed in Bantayan to reduce the State’s reliance on obtaining quality breeds from overseas. 

He added that livestock farmers can purchase Saga breed chicks from the centre at minimum rates. 

Jeffrey said his Ministry was allocated RM553.07 million under the 2024 State Budget, with RM363.91 million channelled for budgetary supplies and RM189.16 million for development funds. 

On plans for fish production, he highlighted the Department of Fisheries has set its focus on 50 state-funded development projects with an estimated allocation of RM62.120 million. 

“For 2024, at least RM10.426 has been approved for development projects, including RM31.184 million for administrative expenditures,” said Jeffrey, adding seven federal-funded projects were approved for next year with a total allocation of RM13.9 million. 

Jeffrey said there are also efforts to optimise the use of animal feed ingredients and increase it.

He said the Government is also planning to redevelop mega cattle farms and expand cattle breeding to bolster Sabah’s self-sufficiency level (SSL) for meat production. 

“DVS Sabah has collaborated with a government-linked company (GLC) in Balung, Tawau, in increasing the beef cattle population through a feedlot system.

“It is expected to increase the beef cattle population from 53,000 in 2023 to 155,000 in 2030,” he said, adding it is expected to increase Sabah’s meat production SSL from 5.26 per cent to 25 per cent in 2030. 

He said DVS Sabah has acquired superior breeds, intensified the artificial insemination programme and provided bulls on loan for natural breeding.

On plans for the Rural Development Corporation (KPD), Jeffrey said the agency under the Ministry will receive more than RM9 million in development funds 

He said the main focus of KPD will be on implementing contract farming programmes which will involve 1,580 rural farmers. 

“Contract farming is a two-pronged strategy with dual objectives aimed at increasing agriculture produce and generating additional income,” he said, adding the projects will include mushroom, meat chicken, kampung chicken, honeybee farming and pomelo projects. 

Furthermore, he said KPD will also conduct purchase of agriculture products through agriculture collection centres developed by KPD. 

Beginning 2024, he said, the Ministry through KPD will draw up plans to establish mini-scale processing activities at agriculture collection centres to diversify downstream products capable of adding value and increasing the shelf life of produce. 

“This initiative towards processing is also hoped to reduce the wastage of agriculture produce which could not be sold fresh and low grade fruits.” 

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