Tax incentives for agro firms to boost productivity

Govt targets fresh milk to be fully supplied by local production by 2024, from 58.3%, says minister

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The government is expected to introduce tax incentives for farming and agricultural companies to increase Malaysia’s self-sufficiency level (SSL) for dairy-based products.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub (picture) said the SSL for the country’s dairy products was at as low as 4% in 2018.

“Our production of dairy products is very low as the SSL is currently at 4%. We have been focusing on encouraging the local farming companies to increase their productivity, as well as spur foreign investments into the country.

“We will be discussing with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Finance to consult on how to facilitate agriculture and agro-based production in the country,” he said at the launch of Etika Dairies Sdn Bhd’s commercial processing plant in Klang yesterday.

Salahuddin said the government has set a target for fresh milk to be fully supplied by local production by 2024, from the current 58.3%.

“The SSL for fresh milk at the moment is more than 50%, according to last year’s calculation. Last year, our milk consumption was 63 million litres, of which, 24.5 million litres were produced mostly in Australia and New Zealand.

“The ministry believes that Malaysia could increase fresh milk’s SSL to 100% in five years if we get local producers to increase their manufacturing capacity level,” he said.

Salahuddin said in 2017, the country produced RM91.53 million worth of fresh milk, while importing RM73.55 million of the product.

To ensure farmers’ sustainable and profitable revenue, he said the ministry plans to stimulate the cultivation of grain corn used solely for livestock feed.

“We have made it as one of the focuses in the ministry’s directive to make sure that the cost of livestock farming is profitable.

“The end result is to reduce the dependency of imported food for livestock which could hopefully reduce the prices of poultry products,” he said.

Salahuddin added that currently, several local companies have embarked on the cultivation of grain corn via plantations in Sarawak, Johor, Pahang and Kedah.

He said several companies are conducting such projects, and some are requesting for financial assistance from the ministry.

Meanwhile, he refuted claims that linked his political secretary to fraudulent arrangements relating to certain projects within the ministry.

The 47-year-old political secretary was recently remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for four days before he was released last Thursday.

Initial investigations revealed that the political secretary was believed to have received a luxury watch worth RM28,000 as an inducement to allow a development company to get projects under the ministry.

The case is currently being investigated under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009.

“Nonsense. There is no such project. For the time being, no action has been taken. Investigations have been completed. If he is charged, let the law take its course,” he said.

Salahuddin added that his political secretary has not been suspended and returned to work the day after he was released.

“He is still on duty as political secretary. He started working after his release. So far, there is no charge and I have no problem with that,” he said.

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