Malaysia looks to reduce milk imports through ‘Dairy Valley’ project
The JDV project will be built on 275 hectares of land in Mersing, Johor. When fully operational in 2023, it is expected to produce 5.1m liters of fresh milk annually, boosting national production by 11%. This will further reduce the country’s reliance on imported milk products, which is estimated to be worth a total of RM3.9bn ($930m) in 2019. The JDV is also projected to create 100 new job openings and 30 agropreneurial opportunities for the local community in Mersing.
JDV is a key agribusiness project in agrofood@ECER, an integrated initiative for agricultural and food products, which includes the Dairy Valley project. JDV takes an integrated approach including upstream, midstream, and downstream activities from animal breeding, livestock management, milk processing, to related industries such as animal feed and nutrition. The JDV project will be modeled on the Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre (MSCRIC) in Pahang, another ECERDC project.
With the appointment of Farm Fresh Sdn. Bhd. as the anchor company of the public-private partnership MSCRIC project, milk production has surpassed the initial target, with a production of 6m liters of fresh milk in 2020. It has also directly benefited the local population, including the Orang Asli community, by generating 275 new job opportunities and 2,206 entrepreneurial prospects, such as home dealers and satellite farmers.
“The Johor State Government has planned to expand its agricultural sector and intends to become a major food exporter as well as a “food bank” to other exporting countries. The JDV project by ECERDC will support the state’s objective to become the regional food hub, in line with the Johor Food Security Agenda, as well as the Johor Food Bank initiative, one of the seven endeavours under “7 Ikhtiar Makmur Johor” (7 Endeavours for a Prosperous Johor)” to accelerate the state’s economic recovery,” said YAB Dato’ Haji Hasni bin Mohammad, the Menteri Besar of Johor at the signing ceremony.
“The JDV is a component of the larger Dairy Valley initiative to create an efficient and sustainable dairy industry across the ECER, namely in Jemaluang, Mersing, Setiu, Terengganu, West Pahang and Lojing, Kelantan. Combined, the ECER Dairy Valley is anticipated to produce 40% of the local fresh milk. This will help to lessen the country’s dependence on imported milk while providing local communities with jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities as satellite farmers and dairy industry entrepreneurs,” said En. Baidzawi Che Mat, CEO of ECERDC at the signing ceremony.
Through its agrofood@ECER initiative, ECERDC’s vision is to transform the ECER into a major food production hub for the nation, which will address the nation’s food security concerns, by reducing food imports especially dairy products, as well as creating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.