KUANTAN: Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) is cooperating with Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) to set up the country’s first halal gelatine incubator project estimated to cost RM20 million.
UMP assistant vice-chancellor (academic and international) Prof Datuk Dr Rosli Mohd Yunus said construction of the incubator on a three-hectare land at the Industrial Technology Engineering Creativity Space (ITECS), UMP Pekan, was expected to start soon.
“All this while, the nation’s food and medical industries are fully dependent on imported gelatine from countries such as Europe, Pakistan and China, but their halal status are questionable.
“It is estimated that only two per cent of the gelatine produced worldwide are halal particularly from countries such as Turkey and Iran. Hence, this project more or less can accommodate the demand for halal gelatine in the country,” he said recently.
Gelatine is a protein derived from collagen obtained from bones, skin and ligaments from animal sources such as cows and pigs.
Its uses are widespread as the protein is versatile, that is, it can function as an emulsifier, gelling agent, thickening agent and can improve nutrients. It is widely used in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries in Malaysia currently.
Meanwhile, project director Zainal Abidin Ramli said the project was an initiative by Mara to help Bumiputera entrepreneurs spearhead the halal food industry with a high-impact project.
“The project which is expected to operate in the fourth quarter of 2016 will be equipped with equipment worth over RM11 million and has the capacity to produce 250-300 tonnes per year.
“The country is projected to need over 5,000 tonnes of halal gelatine annually and with this production, we can at least meet part of the overall demand,” he said.
Currently, the price of gelatine can reach RM45 per kilogramme depending on quality.
Zainal Abidin said the project would source animal supply from Thailand, Indonesia or Sabah and Sarawak.
He said MARA and UMP have appointed UMPGT Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of UMP Holdings Sdn Bhd, as manager for the project. – Bernama