KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — The Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) is expanding its role to help the country’s agrofood production by planning to raise broilers to cover the shortage in chicken supply.

Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said apart from cattle, poultry was the agency’s new target to deal with the issue of shortage.

“Apart from cattle, Risda and Felcra (Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority) are discussing collaboration in poultry farming. It will involve the farms of these two agencies throughout the country. The matter is being discussed,” he told reporters after the Risda Aidilfitri celebration here today.

Meanwhile, Mahdzir said that about 82,000 kilogrammes of maize for livestock feed are expected to be harvested this July.

He said that it was part of a short-term planting programme involving 750,000 trees in an area of 15 hectares in Perlis on a contract basis.

“This maize crop is the focus of Risda this year in helping the government reduce its dependence on import of animal feed,” he said.

Mahdzir said that the programme targets to produce 600,000 metric tonnes of maize for animal feed in the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, Risda chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif said the poultry plan targeted 500,000 organic broilers in one harvest.

“Risda is able to help the government overcome the issue of chicken supply; we will work with MAFI (Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries).

“We will manage this livestock farm to produce healthier, halal and hygienic chicken for the people’s needs at an affordable price; it will also involve farmers and smallholders with their planting activities,” he said, adding that the project will begin this year.

In the meantime, Mohd Salim said for the first time this year, Risda will supply 1,000 cows for sacrifice for Aidiladha this year.

The sacrificial ritual will be managed through agencies that include online distribution such as EzyQurban.

He said Risda also provided an abattoir in Semenyih, and other facilities to distribute sacrificial meat through local courier companies.

Risda thus far has 6,000 cattle on farms nationwide, and aims to increase this to 10,000 by the end of this year, he said. — Bernama