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Malaysia's bioeconomy sector to generate US$1.18b revenue

Publication Date : 31-10-2012


Producing caviar in Malaysia's Jerantut town and breeding lobsters from the United States in Semporna town are among two major entry point projects in the new bioeconomy sector that could bring an extra 3.6 billion ringgit (US$1.18 billion) to the country.

“This project will turn Jerantut into a world caviar production centre, an initiative that was beyond our imagination but now it will be implemented via I-Caviar involving 475 million ringgit," Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said after chairing the National Biotechnology Implementation Council.

”This is an example of how, with technological applications, we can bring big changes to an area where we cannot bring much development.

“We can also introduce a new industry that is not indigenous to our country,” he said.

On lobster breeding, Najib said an American company would invest $1 billion for the integrated aquaculture project in Semporna, Sabah.

According to Bernama, he said the company, operating a chain of restaurants under the “Red Lobster” brand name, had identified Semporna and Lahad Datu waters as suitable to breed lobsters on a commercial scale.

They would rope in locals as “contract farmers” who were expected to earn 3,000 ringgit to 4,000 ringgit a month, he said.

”The parties involved in this project will receive guaranteed order. The lobsters harvested will be exported to the international market.

“This is an example of how the strength that we have, like the rich biodiversity and the unpolluted natural environment, can be tapped to our advantage via biotechnological applications,” he said.

The prime minister said the government would cooperate with the Sarawak government to conduct research and development to breed Empurau fish (scientific name: Tor tambroides) on a big scale in the state.

He pointed out that Empurau, which could fetch up to 1,000 ringgit per kg, was among the most expensive fish species in the world, but nevertheless its production was limited.

Najib said the meeting also decided that the Biotechnology Implementation Council be renamed the National Bioeconomy Council because the terminology was seen to be more comprehensive.

*US$1=3.05 ringgit


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