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New Agriculture Adventures and Learning

Leaving the beach this morning from Pangkor Island Beach Resort, the I-CAL team was rejuvenated and excited for the new adventures that awaited us!

We took a ferry back to the main land and headed to the first tour of the day, the Malayan Flour Mill. The flour mill was opened in 1965 and the first to open in Malaysia.  It’s unique in the fact that it was designed by an architect and thus thoroughly designed with the ability to easily upgrade as time has passed since then.  We went on a tour of the plant and learned that it contains 70 silos with a total holding capacity of 65,000 tons raw product.

The flour mill is located along the river and has its own port, again something well designed and thought out by the architect at the time and offers MFM an advantage in the market place, as no other flour mill in Southeast Asia has this luxury.  They receive shipments of wheat from Australia, Canada, and the United States in the amount of 30,000 tons at a time, taking a full week to unload.  The flour mill produced 150 tons of flour per day.  It is stored in the silos located directly on the property and shipped out in both bulk and bagged form.  We were pleasantly surprised by the quality control testing that they perform, ranging from simply cooking with the final product to a numerous number of lab tests such as manolta tests (testing the color).  The mill is also vertically integrated; which leads us to our next tour of the day. Located directly next to the flour mill is a feed mill.

The company built a feed mill to use the byproducts produced from the flour mill. The feed mill then supplies the company’s subsidiary poultry farms and other area farms.  Their rations range from bullfrogs and marine life, to beef, poultry, and equine feeds.  The mill doesn’t mix any swine feeds, as there are very few swine in the area due to the large Muslims population. Our tour of the field mill was very different than the one we experienced in Vietnam. We saw more modern machinery as well as different safety and cleanliness standards applied within the mill. The mill produces 16,000 metric tons of field per day and has an impressively low waste produced, weighing in at 0.5% raw product.  The plant also has its own quality control labs to test both incoming raw products and outgoing finished product.  It has active plans to expand its operating capacity of 20,000 metric tons per day as well as to expand its operation and production lines.

After completing these tours our group loaded back onto the bus and headed toward the Malayan poultry processing plant. Dindings Poultry Processing Plant (founded in 1990) separates the processes into preliminary processing, primary processing, further processing, and storage and deliver. After learning about a brief history of the plant, its operating procedures, and products produced, we were given a tour of the plant. We all looked very stylish in our hair nets, white hats, white laboratory coats, and our white waterproof boots. The plant strongly enforces the safety of its workers as well as the biosecurity of the plant.

While touring the plant we saw the chickens move from start to the finished fresh cut product. The plant processes 50,000-60,000 birds per day with a capacity of 6,000 birds being processed on the production line per hour.  Eighty percent of the birds are shipped out in right away in chilled form the same day, with the other twenty percent going into freezer storage to ensure a steady supply to their customers.

We are all settled into KL for the next couple days before heading for Singapore.  Overall, we can see an increase in the standard of living between here and Vietnam as well as economic status.  However the cost of living is still cheap compared to the U.S., as a simple iced coffee at the rest stop was just over $0.50 USD!  Tomorrow we look forward to starting out the day in the U.S. Grain Council’s Malaysia office with a briefing and current status of Malayan agriculture by a representative from the U.S. Foreign Ag Service.  Following that, we will meet with staff from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

Karl Kerns, Iowa State University

Bethany Markway, Missouri State University

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