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WHILE Malaysia has set its sights on achieving 100% fresh milk self-sufficiency by 2025, official statistics show that the country’s annual milk consumption has increasingly outstripped domestic production in recent years.
To put it into perspective, the deficit level for fresh milk has almost doubled from 13.3 million litres in 2014 to 26.1 million litres in 2020, according to data from the Veterinary Services Department.
The booming demand for fresh milk and dairy products is not exclusive to Malaysia alone and in fact, Asean is expected to be a key battleground for the industry over the next decade.
Rabobank, in its “Dairy Export Boom Beckons in Asean-6 – With a Push or Pull” report, has projected the combined annual milk deficit of the Asean-6, (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), to grow.
The country’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, also has an exposure in dairy farming via its stake in The Holstein Milk Co Sdn Bhd, which sells milk and yogurt under the Farm Fresh brand.
Main Market-listed Rhone Ma Holdings Bhd, which is mainly involved in the end-to-end animal health solutions, has also entered into the dairy farming landscape in mid-2020.
The group completed the acquisition of a 49% stake in three livestock-related businesses on July 1,2020 namely One Lazuli Sdn Bhd (OLSB), Nor Lazuli Nutrition Sdn Bhd (NLN) and Nor Livestock Farm Sdn Bhd (NLF).
Via NLF, Rhone Ma currently produces an average of 30,000 litres fresh milk per month, which the group says have been fully taken up by buyers consisting of wholesalers within the farm’s vicinity in Batang Kali, Selangor.
Speaking with StarBizWeek, its managing director Dr Lim Ban Keong says the customers have been asking for more milk supply, hence requiring the group to further ramp up its production.