Malaysia is building a dairy complex in its southern-most state opposite Singapore to reduce the country’s reliance on imports of fresh milk.

The Jemaluang Dairy Valley (JDV) project will be jointly developed by the Johor state government and the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) on a 275-hectare plot of land in the coastal town of Mersing, Johor.

Once operational in 2023, JDV is expected to produce 5.1 million litres of fresh milk a year, representing an 11% increase to the current output in Malaysia. It is estimated the project will create 100 jobs, along with additional employment in the local community.

The ECERDC is tasked with developing the East-Coast Economic Region (ECER) of peninsular Malaysia, which as well as Johor, encompasses the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

“JDV takes an integrated approach that includes upstream, midstream, and downstream activities looking into all aspects of dairy cattle production, consisting of animal breeding, livestock management, milk processing, and related industries such as animal feed and nutrition,” according to the ECERDC, which estimates Malaysia imports around MYR3.9bn (US$930.2m) worth of fresh milk annually.

Baidzawi Che Mat, the CEO of ECERDC, said: “The JDV is a component of the larger Dairy Valley initiative to create an efficient and sustainable dairy industry across the ECER.

“Combined, the ECER Dairy Valley is anticipated to produce 40% of the local fresh milk. This will help to lessen the country’s dependence on imported milk while providing local communities with jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities as satellite farmers and dairy industry entrepreneurs.”