Huge potential for intergration of ruminant and oil palm plantations in Sabah

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KENINGAU: Sabah has huge potential for integration of ruminant with the oil palm plantation as a strategy to increase the state’s self sufficiency level on production of meat supply.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan noted that with a vast area of about 2 million ha of oil palm plantations, the opportunity is there for integration and in turn reduce the state’s dependency on meat import from abroad.
“Lately, it’s been a challenge for us to increase our self sufficiency on ruminant meat because of various factors such as the increase of price of ruminant feed due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and global climate change.
“These have affected the production of raw materials for ruminant feed such as soy, maize and wheat in the producing countries.
“Therefore, we need to think of ways to produce our own meat supply,” he said in his speech when officiating the State Level Farm Day here, today.
He said integrating ruminant with plantation is a workable strategy considering that the palm kernel cake is one of the sources of food for ruminants as also palm fronds.
Other than oil palm plantations, Kitingan, who is also Sabah Deputy Chief Minister cum Keningau MP, said idle lands can be utilized for growing grass particularly napier grass as food source for ruminants.
Earlier, Director of the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Dr Hjh Normah Yusop said the self-sufficiency level (SSL) for meat production in Sabah is below 10 per cent, which is very low.
She said Sabah still highly dependent on imports from countries like India and Australia.
However, the department she said has taken steps to increase the level of self-sufficiency by working with government-linked companies to develop the ruminant industry in the state.
Among the strategic plans is to develop the Borneo Dairy Valley through cooperation with the Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) and Keningau Livestock Intergrated Centre (KLIC).
Another cooperation she said is with Sawit Kinabalu on cattle breeding which will later be distributed to smallholders.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Fishers Datuk James Ratib and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Permanent Secretary Robert Stidi among others.