December 11, 2022

Department of Statistics: Malaysia must review agricultural sector and invest in modernization | Malaysia

A farmer at a vegetable farm in Cameron Highlands on June 13, 2021. – Photo by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, November 29 – There is a need for Malaysia to review the agricultural sector as a potential source of employment and to increase capital investment in modernizing this sector, said Malaysia’s Department of Statistics (DOSM ).

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said this was due to the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on agricultural production and prices, increasing the importance of food security.

“There is a need to focus on the stability of the food supply, especially for agricultural products which are insufficiently self-sufficient and which depend heavily on imports.

“In addition, the focus should also take into account accessibility to food, especially for the low-income group due to the volatility of the price factor,” he said in a statement today.

He said Malaysia also has the potential to reduce its dependence on agricultural imports following developments in this sector.

Total agricultural sector imports increased to R 98 billion in 2020, compared to R 93.5 billion in 2019.

“This shows that the country’s dependence on agricultural imports is increasing to meet domestic demand as well as to supply varieties to consumers and processing activities.

“Over a 28-year period (1987-2015), Malaysia’s dependence on agricultural imports fell from 7.3% to 13.7%,” he said.

At the same time, the agricultural sector continued to contribute to the country through exports, especially products made from agricultural raw materials such as palm oil, rubber and cocoa.

Total agricultural exports increased from RM115.5 billion in 2019 to RM118.6 billion in 2020.

The agricultural sector contributed 7.4% to the national gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, with growth in the sector contracting by 2.2% last year compared to growth of 2.0% in 2019.

The decline is due to the commodity sub-sector, particularly oil palm, which recorded negative growth of 3.6% compared to 1.5% in 2019.

Mohd Uzir said that although the growth rate of oil palm has declined, it was the main contributor to the added value of the agricultural sector, accounting for 36.9 billion ringgit or 37.1%.

“Although the production of fresh fruit bunches (oil palm) was the highest among agricultural products, its production decreased by 2.09 million tonnes or 2.1 percent, followed by natural rubber and pepper. , which recorded a decrease of 125,100 tonnes and 3,100 tonnes respectively. ,” he said.

Mohd Uzir said vegetable production in Malaysia increased by 0.9% in 2020, with Pahang remaining the largest producer with a contribution of 35.1%, followed by Johor (20.2%) and Kelantan (12, 5%).

Meanwhile, fruit production declined 0.7 percent over the same period, with Johor being the highest producing state in Malaysia with a contribution of 36.0 percent, followed by Pahang (13 percent percent) and Sarawak (11.2 percent).

As for the livestock sub-sector, he indicated that the number of cattle has increased with the exception of buffaloes, sheep and pigs.

Despite the increase in the herd, production decreased with the exception of poultry meat, chicken / duck eggs as well as fresh milk.

The decline in some commodities has also been attributed to lack of demand from restaurants, eateries and hotels that were not functioning or had operating restrictions due to Covid-19.

At the same time, sea fish landings in 2020 amounted to 1.38 million tonnes, down 5.0% from 1.45 million tonnes in 2019, due to lack of operations vessels on the high seas due to restrictions on the re-entry of foreign labor.

Likewise, aquaculture production in brackish water and fresh water decreased by 1.4 and 7.1 percent respectively compared to the previous year. – Bernama