A bold career switch by Yim Yooi Wai, a former civil engineer, to invest in contract farming for sweet corn resulted in an increase in income
CORN planting in Malaysia can be financially rewarding.
Yim Yooi Wai can attest to that.
A move by Yim to invest in contract farming for sweet corn resulted in an increase in income, from when he was a civil engineer.
"I've been able to achieve a steady income since I started planting and selling sweet corn to Nelson's Corn In Cup (a home-grown corn and ice-cream franchise). The corn can also be used as feed for my goats. Goat dung, in turn, is a good source of fertiliser for corn farmers," he told Business Times in Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor.
Yim has also seen significant cost savings by sourcing locally. A year ago, animal feed costs would make up three quarters of his total operating costs as he relied on imported corn and soya meals.
But since turning to processed corn cobs, leaves and stems, known as silage, his animal feed costs have been slashed by half.
"Basically, one goat eats 1kg of high protein meal per day. Soya scrap is sold for RM1 per kg, but silage from the corn field only costs me 50 sen per kg," he said.
Today, Yim earns some RM110,000 a month from selling corn kernels to Nelson's.
"Operational cost is some RM65,000 a month, which leaves me with a gross profit of RM45,000 a month," he added.
This averages to a monthly income of RM15,000, far more fulfilling than his four-figure salary as an engineer.
Yim's bold career switch to a farmer was not all smooth as he had to endure two years of irregular income before he got his business model right.
He started the venture in 2006 with a partner, with a capital of RM250,000 and imported 200 Boer goats from Australia. Since then, he has sold about 150 heads to food caterers and restaurateurs.
"People in Malaysia eat more meat than the country can produce. By venturing into goat farming, I knew there was a ready market," he said.
Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the government aims to increase local sheep and goat headcount to some 800,000 to satisfy 15 per cent of the country's red meat consumption by 2010.
The current goat and sheep population is around 393,000, which can only satisfy 10 per cent of the country's demand. Last year, Malaysia spent RM3 billion to import beef, lamb and mutton.
Malaysia's per capita consumption of mutton and goat meat has increased to 740g from 670g in 2006.
Meanwhile, Nelson's Franchise (M) Sdn Bhd founder and managing director Nelson Kwok Teng Toong said the collaboration with Yim has proven to be mutually beneficial.
The partnership ensures an adequate supply of corn kernels for Nelson's business partners in Russia, Sweden and Romania.
"The collaboration has created a win-win situation. I need more supply of sweet corn for my overseas franchisees, while Yim needs cheaper animal feed for his goats," said Kwok.