: Malaysia can save up to RM500 million in the import cost of chicken and aquaculture feed annually if industry players know how to capitalise on the benefits of using palm husks.
Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said this was because the use of palm husks for chicken feed had proven to improve the quality of the meat, while the poultry mortality rate would be lower than the industry average.
He said there were 45 factories in the country involved in the process of palm husks for poultry feed, however, they were more focused on cow feed.
Hence, Malaysia needed to import chicken feed and its cost which had reached up to 25 per cent of the total industry cost was viewed as too high, he added.
Due to this, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd (SDP) have collaborated to develop the first pre-cleaning system for chicken and aquaculture feed from palm husks in a move to reduce the sector''s dependency on imported products.
"Malaysians consume 1.8 million chickens daily and the importers have to spend up to RM5 billion annually to meet the cost of the poultry feed.
"Chicken feed produced using the new system developed by MPOB and SDP will not only save on import cost, but the quality and safety of the feed can also be controlled," Mah told the media after launching the pre-cleaning system here, today.
He said the pre-cleaning system, which was implemented by SDP since October last year, was targeted to meet up to 10 per cent of the chicken and aquaculture demand annually.
In another development, he said palm oil exports in the first three months of this year increased RM3.31 billion or 37 per cent compared with the same period last year.
He said even though the export was lower at 3.65 million tonnes this year from 3.69 million tonnes last year, the increase in export value met the ministry''s target.
"This is a good development and it showed that the oil palm industry is also an important economic sector for the country," he said.
Meanwhile, SDP Managing Director, Datuk Franki Anthony Dass, said the chicken and aquaculture feed product under the "Purafex" brand produced by the company was cheaper than soy- and corn-based products.
"Before this, SDP only produces cattle feed. However, the system that is fully funded by MPOB has allowed the company to embark on a new business.
"We are targeting chicken-based fast food companies as a business prospect as poultry fed on Purafex produces healthier meat and less fat...Purafex can also be an alternative to products based on soy and corn," he said.
In a separate statement, SDP said Purafex, could lower the production cost of chicken feed by about 10 per cent or RM180 per tonne.
It said poultry feed accounted for up to 70 per cent of the poultry industry''s total production cost, mainly due to imported ingredients such as maize and soy, leading to an average of RM5.6 billion yearly expenditure on animal feed and about 55 per cent of that on importing maize.
SDP Head of Downstream Operations, Mohd Haris Mohd Arshad, said Purafex could be used to replace these imported ingredients.
"If Purafex accounts for 30 per cent of the feed ingredient, this would deliver a minimum savings of more than 10 per cent or around RM180 per tonne of chicken feed cost, depending on the prevailing market price," he added.
Purafex is made from palm kernel expellers at SDP''s Carey Island Kernel Crushing Plant, which is able to cater up to 10 per cent of the total industry demand for chicken feed. - BERNAMA