SUNGAI PETANI – The maize production industry will be able to generate new revenue for farmers if produced commercially, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said if local farmers could produce 30 per cent of the national corn requirement they could generate a revenue of at least RM1 billion.
According to him, presently the country was importing as much as 4 million metric tons of corn valued at RM3.1 billion yearly for poultry feed especially for chickens.
“In view of this we have started several maize growing pilot projects in Kampung Dadong, Kemaman (Terengganu) and other areas here which can serve as the national standard for maize production,” he told reporters after visiting a maize growing project at Kampung Sungai Batu, Mukim Bujang here today.
“Domestic production will not only reduce outflow of money abroad but will also create huge business opportunities for entrepreneurs,” he said adding that import price of the grain was about RM1,000 per metric ton.
He said among states which were suitable for maize cultivation were Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah and Sarawak as the crop requires flat and dry land to facilitate machine harvesting.
In addition, he said with the allocation provided under Budget 2017 the money could be used to purchase modern equipment for the maize production industry.
“In any case we are still in the pilot phase of collecting data to further develop this industry which we envision will take five years before we can move to the next stage,” he said.
“Corn grains are a great source of protein for poultry feed and if it can be produced locally, these grains which are filled with nourishment are capable of accelerating livestock production growth.
“In addition to the grains the maize stalks can be used as fodder for cattle and we want to study its production techniques,” he said. – BERNAMA