Wednesday, December 8

Agro industries, a ‘money machine’ for rural folks

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KUALA LUMPUR: With only RM50, Ahmat Termizi Dollah Kusni of Kampung Bukit Bangkong, Sepang has managed to become a millionaire in the tapioca chips industry.Despite stumbling along the way for three times in his journey as a businessman, the 50-year-old continued his business foray with patience and perseverance and this had paved the way for him to achieve success.

Ahmat Termizi’s association with the tapioca chips business began in 1986.

He started with RM50 capital and a borrowed frying pan.

“I have no experience in business and had failed three times, to the extent that I had to work as a lorry driver to make ends meet,” he told Bernama when met at his potato chips mill, Jamirah Food Industries (M) Sdn Bhd located at Jalan Mempelam, Kampung Bukit Bangkong, Sepang in Selangor.

His luck turned for the better when Ahmat termizi set up Jamirah Food Industries (M) Sdn in 1996.

Ahmat Termizi is the company’s managing director.

The company now has three subsidiaries — Jamirah Enterprise, JFI Marketing Sdn Bhd and Gemba Marketing Sdn Bhd.

In 2004, the company received the Good Farming Practices Certificate from the Agriculture Department, and this opened a new page for Ahmat Termizi to expand his tapioca chips business.

“After 20 years of hardwork, I finally managed to penetrate the foreign market and now almost 20 per cent of my mill’s production like the tapioca chips go to foreign markets such as in the United Kingdom, Australia, Dubai and Vietnam,” he said.

At present Ahmat Termizi employs 20 fulltime workers.

The mill is able to produce 3.0 tonnes of tapioca chips a day.

According to Ahmat Termizi, his brand of tapioca chips under the ‘Agro Chips’ label reached RM5 million turnover a year with 80 per cent going to the domestic market and the rest for countries abroad.

Another agriculture entrepreneur, Mahathir Talib, is involved in the commercial breeding of goats in Kampung Ulu Melaka, Alor Gajah in Melaka.

For the 35-year-old, agriculture sector can provide handsome earnings if one capitalised on the opportunities provided by the government as there are vast potentials in the livestock breeding sector.

“Seeing this potential, I set up MP Livestock at Kampung Ulu Melaka Pindah for the breeding of goats and cattle”, Mahathir said when met at his livestock breeding farm.

The farm measures some 93 metres long and 10 metres wide.

Mahathir said he initially had 65 goats, 60 females (does) and five males (bucks) from various breeds like Jamnapari, Boer, Rubian, katjang, Sanean as well as Barbados, Lonte and Malin sheeps.

He also collaborated with several suppliers of goat breeds.

Mahathir who also supplies fresh mutton now has some 400 goats and able to supply 800 kg of fresh mutton a week.

“Price of mutton now is good and I am able to sell the goats at between RM450 and RM1,800 each depending on the weight and breed,” he said.

For another livestock trader, Othman Abu Hassan, 50, from Kampung Panchor, Durian Tunggal in Melaka, despite the tough challenges in livestock breeding he has never given up as he believed hardwork would finally bring the rewards.

Othman started his livestock venture 2004 with RM1,000 capital where he bought four katjang goats and by mid year he bought another 15 for RM3,000.

A year later, he started to rear cattle.

He began with four heads of cattle at RM3,200 capital before bringing the count to 51 heads at RM75,000.

According to Othman, one of the main challenges in the industry is the livestock disease as it could wipe out a large number of the livestock resulting in huge losses.

“To this date, I have 140 heads of cattle and 170 goats,” he said.

Othman said he feeds his lifestock with farm feed mixed with oil palm fronds, grass, palm sugar and sago.

In another development, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Deputy Minister Datuk Rohani Karim said in 2008, Malaysia had to import 103,000 tonnes of beef worth RM883.9 million and 18,000 tonnes of mutton valued at  RM188 million.

She said Sarawak and Sabah have the potential of becoming the centres for commercial livestock breeding as the World Veterinary Health Organisation had declared Borneo free of the food and mouth disease.

“So far the nation is only able to produce 25 percent of its demand for meat despite having the potential to produce more,” she said.

Rohani said the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries would discuss with the state government for Batang Lupar to be made a Permanent Food Production Park.

She said the agro-based industries have great potential in boosting the income of those in the rural areas.

Rohani has hope that the establishment of the Agriculture Development Council for parliamentary constituencies would further boost the sector in this country. — Bernama