Malaysia's dependence on cattle imports is growing
Malaysia is facing a decline of its cattle herd, as slaughtering numbers are increasing and new welfare regulations adopted by some of its largest livestock suppliers are becoming more stricter.
Between 2010 and 2016, Malaysia saw an annual decline of around 2% in its cattle and buffalo population and for 2018 analysts are expecting a further reduction to 855,441 head, and predicts the slaughter rate will grow to 15.8 %, according to Salaam Gateway.
Two years ago, the national herd was at 867,091 head, according to a recent Rabobank analysis and 14.8% were slaughtered throughout that year, increasing the country's dependence on livestock imports from Australia or Thailand or on water buffalo meat imports from India.
In fact, Ben Santoso, a Rabobank Singapore food and agribusiness analyst, believes that the country's beef imports will reach 90% of the domestic consumption by 2022.
2015 was the best year for Australian livestock exports to Malaysia, with a figure of 50,000 head delivered to this market. Nevertheless, new rules established by the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), a unique regulatory structure that holds them responsible for ensuring that the entire supply chain conforms to Australian standards, even after the animals have landed overseas, have limited the livestock exports to 21,330 in 2017, according to data presented by Meat and Livestock Australia.
These new rules are meant to assure a high animal welfare standard and forbidden the livestock exporters to deliver cattle, sheep and goats for a sacrificial purpose, fact that it has stopped the shipments during the celebration of Korban. As a result, the Malaysian cattle herd was diminished further in the last two years and the phenomenon is expected to continue.
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