Our third day in Malaysia started with a unique experience, the Kuala Lumpur Wet Market. The market is similar to a farmer’s market in the United States where restaurants and families can come to buy fresh fruits and vegetables like corn, carrots, and pineapple. Unlike the typical famer’s market, this market also sold frogs, live chickens, and fish that were still wiggling on the table. The air was filled with early morning humidity, fresh seafood, and smoked meats. At 8:00 am, we were already late for the freshest products as the market starts at 4:00 am each morning, and by 2:00 pm a huge sale takes place so that the food doesn’t spoil in the hot sun.
Adell, our friend from the U.S. Grains Council treated us to his favorite breakfast spot, Resotran Devis Corner. It was a popular Indian restaurant for the non-natives. We had rice pancakes stuffed with a potato curry masala. The highlight of the meal was the fresh squeezed apple juice, yum!
Our next stop was Westport, a central hub for the importing and exporting of Malaysia grain. The port had feed mills, ships, and containers covering its 7 kilometers of ocean front property along the Strait of Malacca. It was no surprise to hear that this port was the 14th largest port in the world in terms of volume. With all of the opportunities and growth taking place in Southeast Asia, Westports has goals of becoming a top ten port in the world. Currently it could move 10,000 tons of dry bulk grains and 20,000 tons of bulk liquids per hour. By mimicking an airport, this seaport specializes in convenience, efficiency, and employee and customer satisfaction. They treated us like VIP’s as we got up close and personal with some of the $7.3 million cranes and 370 meter long boats (that’s long enough to fit 3 football fields)!
Along the port, we were fortunate enough to tour Cargill’s feed mill. Cargill is a Minnesota based company that stretches around the globe working in 68 countries. They have been established in Malaysia since 1978, and have 581 employees. Specializing in animal nutrition, grains and oilseeds, texturizing, and flavoring, Cargill is committed to serving its worldwide customer base. From palm oil refining to formulating proper fish feed, Cargill has its hand in all aspects of Malaysian agriculture.
Our last tour of the day was with a company that owned all of the KFC’s and Pizza Huts in Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and India. Ayamas is a fully integrated company owning the feed mill, processing plant, hatchery, and restaurants it needed to obtain 10% of the chicken market in Malaysia. It was a real treat because it was the first branded chicken and was leading the way in providing value added products in Malaysia. Stay tune as we tour one of the most innovated chicken farms in Malaysia tomorrow and head to Melaka!
Ashley Gatling – University of Arkansas
Dan Helvig – University of Minnesota