Cattle Rearing In Oil Palm Lands To Provide Dual Income For Farmers

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 (Bernama) — The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) plans to
integrate cattle rearing in oil palm lands will provide dual income to oil palm farmers and
create 6,000 new job opportunities in the region, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)’s
director-general Datuk Dr Mohd Basri Wahid said Thursday.
Out of the 6,000 job opportunities, some 4,000 jobs could be created in upstream
activities such as tanning, meat processing and feed milling, he said in a statement.
According to him, the project will also help to develop small and medium-sized industries
and increase local beef production, which currently produces only 23 percent of the
domestic demand.
The national target is to expand cattle population to 1.49 million heads by 2010.
By rearing cattle in oil palm plantations, implementation could also be speeded up as
cattle graze on existing agricultural land without requiring the opening up of new areas,
Mohd Basri said.
He said a herd size of 100 breeding cows and five bulls integrated systematically in 400
hectares of oil palm plantation has potential to increase to a herd of 263 heads.
Mohd Basri said about 51 percent of 1.08 million hectares of land planted with oil palm in
the region amounting to 542,000 hectares were suitable for cattle oil palm integration.
Based on MPOB’s study of the optimal ratio of one cattle to four hectares of land, the
maximum number of cattle that could be integrated with oil palm in ECER was about
135,000 heads, he said, adding that systematic rotational grazing was important to
optimise the land without causing detrimental effects to oil palm production.
“The oil palm smallholders are very receptive to the cattle integration idea. This is clearly
shown by the Felda settlers who are currently rearing about 168,000 cattle in their oil
palm land,” Mohd Basri said.
“The unorganised smallholders who own land of less than three hectares may need to
group together in order to achieve a minimum economic size of 100 heads of breeding
cow in 400 hectares of land cattle,” he said.
Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi)’s researcher and
expert on cattle, Dr Johari Jiken Abdullah, said cattle integration was the only viable and
feasible cattle method that was cost-effective in Malaysia.
“The oil palm integration method of using natural vegetations is relatively a zero cost
method where smallholders need only to bear minimal management cost of cattle. This
method is widely practised with Felda smallholders and has proven to be very
successful,” he said.