By Nor Baizura Basri
KHARTOUM (Sudan): Beef supply shortage in Malaysia, particularly during the run-up to festive seasons, will be a thing of the past when halal beef from Sudan starts entering the Malaysian market in mid-November.
Buku Hijau Holdings Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer (Development) Dr Abdul Rashid Tang Abdullah said the company, which has two abattoirs in Sudan, is to export 3,000 metric tonnes of beef a month to Malaysia.
The beef, bearing the brand name “Sudan Beef” will be available in hypermarkets at RM16 a kilogramme, he said.
“With beef supply from Sudan, we can meet 30 to 40 per cent demand for beef in the country,” he told Bernama after visiting the company’s Al-Gazira State Abattoir here today.
Currently, one abattoir has the capacity to slaughter 500 cows a day, handled by 320 workers, he said.
Rashid said Sudan bred about 40 million cows and 75 million goats a year which not only met domestic demand but were also exported, currently only to Middle East countries.
The livestock industry played a crucial role in Sudan’s economy, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of Sudan’s total agriculture exports.
Rashid said Bumi Hijau Holdings is also planning to develop contract farming in Malaysia to fatten one million cows in five years.
“We’ll work with the Veterinary Services Department for this project. The one million cows will be placed under the Strategic Buffer Stock System under the National Food Security Policy.
“The Economic Planning Unit (in the Prime Minister’s Department) has approved this project and is being processed for implementation,” he said.
Rashid said this project would serve as a catalyst to Bumiputeras particularly to earn a higher income and to upgrade their socio-economic well-being.
He said US$500 million (RM1.527 billion) would be invested in this ambitious project.
“If the project is implemented within five years, domestic demand for beef will be fully met and in fact we can emerge as the halal beef exporter to Islamic countries such as Iran,” he said.
Iran, an Islamic Republic with 75 million population, had once expressed its intention to Bumi Hijau Holdings that it wanted to import 43,000 metric tonnes of beef a year from Malaysia but the request was turned down due to beef supply shortage in the country, he said.
Rashid also said his company would build two European Union-standard abattoir centres in Malaysia and undertake maize farming to meet animal feed requirement for the cows.