KUCHING: Sarawak welcomes a proposal by the Rural Development Ministry to boost its buffalo breeding programme by producing premium buffalo cheese, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said yesterday.
He said the proposal would augur well for the state’s ongoing breeding programme in Limbang, where there are over 5,000 heads of swamp buffaloes in Limbang, north of the state, as well as a cattle farm in Darwin, Australia, which also includes 2,500 wild buffaloes.
“We have, earlier this year, brought over 250 of these (buffaloes from Australia) to Limbang for distribution to farmers and some government agencies,” he said in a statement issued following a courtesy call on him by Rural Development Minister Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad.
The federal minister made the proposal during the call where Uggah expressed Sarawak’s interest to discuss further with investors and entrepreneurs keen to start cheese production in the state, as well as the requirements for such industry.
“The state has been breeding buffaloes purely for its meat, which already has a huge potential but with this proposal, we can blend the objectives together.
“Sarawak is embarking on a massive agriculture modernisation programme next year. So let us sit together for further discussion for this to materialise. It fits in very well with our socio-economic programme,” said Uggah, who is also the state’s Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development Minister.
Meanwhile, Dr Abd Latiff said the country imported about RM400 million worth of cheese annually and Sarawak could be a leading producer of halal cheese in the country should the proposal materialised.
“The quality (of imported cheese) may not be what we expect and can be adulterated with non-halal ingredients,” he said, adding that several American investors had shown interest to participate in this buffalo cheese production programme.
“According to experts, the best cheese is from buffalo milk,” he added. −Bernama