Kirimatonas to beef up cattle sector via NFC
KUALA LUMPUR: The controversial National Feedlot Centre project will be taken over by Kirimitonas Agro and is fully committed in repaying the RM216 million loan provided by the government.
NST Business Times reported : The Malaysian-Japanese company, Kirimitonas Agro which is poised to take over the National Feedlot Center project has big plans to make a quantum leap to promote the local cattle industry and quality meat production using their extensive experience and logistics networking.
The new company are fully committed to repaying every dollar of the balance RM216 million loan provided by the government, said Datuk Nik Mohd Amin Majid, chairman of Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd.
He further added that Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the executive chairman of the National Feedlot Corp Sdn Bhd, the operator of the NFC project, had so far done a good job operationally to enhance the project value.
“That’s why our auditor allow us to take the assets and liabilities of NFC. Since the loan repayments are up-to-date, we will continue its repayments. This is a very commercially viable project,” added Nik Mohd Amin.
Among the big plans that Kirimitonas Agro has for the local cattle industry is to produce what it dubbed as the Malay Beef, similar in quality to the famed beef from the Wagyu cattle.
The local cattle industry is currently far behind developed countries in terms of producing quality beef.
However, with the participation of Hannan Foods Group (HFG), Japan’s largest meat and second largest food company, via Kirimitonas Agro, Malaysia is expected to make a quantum leap in the quality meat production.
Kirimitonas is taking over the assets and liabilities of National Feedlot Corp Sdn Bhd.
Nik Mohd Amin said the company is fortunate to have roped in HFG as a partner.
The Japanese giant, he said, was looking for opportunities to expand its operations, especially in the halal food market as there is a lot of demand for halal meat.
“HFG received a lot of order inquiries for Wagyu beef from buyers in the Middle East and elsewhere but it could not cater for the orders as it does not produce halal meat.
“When we promoted the idea of taking over the NFC, HFG was very interested as not only Malaysia is well-known as a halal food hub, but also the NFC concept itself is familiar to them (the company),” Nik Mohd Amin said in an interview on Sunday.
Kirimitonas is a 60-40 joint venture between local company Otoshitos Sdn Bhd and Aruk Mert C. Ltd, an associate company of HFG in charge of expanding the group’s halal business.
Aruk Mert director Kakishima Takaaki, who was also at the interview, said the NFC concept has attracted HFG as Japan itself implemented it 50 years ago.
“After the World War II, Japan found itself too dependent on imported food, including beef.
“As food security was a priority, the government then implemented, among others, feedlot centre projects, where satellite farms were created to fatten up the cattle needed for the abattoirs at the centre,” he said.
Since then, Japan has managed to develop cattle breeds called Wagyu (literally means Japanese cattle), of which meat fetches a high price.
Nik Mohd Amin said HFG, which has 25 affiliate companies and four overseas procurement centres (namely in the United States, Australia, South Korea and China), will be able to share its experience and resources to ensure the success of the NFC project.
“Its procurement capability itself will ensure that NFC will be in a better position to buy live cattle from all over the world at favourable prices,” he said.
On the major factors that have drawn Kirimitonas’ participation in the project, Nik Mohd Amin said it is the concept itself as it involves the whole process of the industry, from farming, processing, distribution to restaurants.
Furthermore, NFC, the operator, has completed the infrastructure for the full implementation of the project, planned by the government to achieve 40 per cent self-sufficiency in beef supply as part of the country’s food security programme.
“When we evaluated the company, we found the comprehensive plan and investment put in are similar to the initiative implemented by the Japanese government with Hannan 50 years ago.
“We believe that this socio-economic project will be a long-term project. We came in at the right time to continue the project, and with ready infrastructure, we can take off immediately,” said Nik Mohd Amin.
Over the last eight months, Kirimitonas has visited NFC facilities in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, and found the 1,500-hectare model farm and abattoir operational with the infrastructure all completed.
Seventy-one satellite and contract farms, out of the 310 to be set up by the government under the Implementation Agreement with NFC, are also operational.
“With these developments, we are confident that the target of producing 250,000 cattle in five years can be achieved.”
However, he stressed that like many agricultural projects, the NFC initiative is long-term.
Kirimitonas, which last week signed a Letter of Intent with the government to take over the project, expects negotiations to be completed in six months.
Under its plan, the company wants to see three more abattoirs being built, covering the northern, southern, western and eastern regions.
It also plans to undertake projects such as feed mills and downstream activities such as halal gelatin and cosmetics, possibly involving other partners.
“Apart from its meat, the cattle have so many uses. Only their skull can’t be used,” said Nik Mohd Amin.
Currently, Malaysia’s live cattle population stand at about 900,000 heads, while consumption is about the same amount, forcing the country to import 76 per cent of its annual requirement.