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Malaysia agribusiness report

BMI View: Malaysia's agriculture industry is expected to benefit significantly from the tenth Economic Transformation Program (2010-2020). A total of 16 Entry Point Projects are aimed to revitalise the sector with the ultimate objectives of increasing contribution to the Gross National Income (GNI) from the current MYR20.2bn (US$6.6bn) to MYR49.1bn by 2020. A total of 74,600 jobs are also hoped to be generated as a result. The focus areas will be in concentrating on Malaysia's competitive advantages in crops like palm oil, herbal products and aquaculture, scaling up the value chain for agriculture and food products as well as ensuring food security in key areas such as rice and livestock.

Key Views

- Rice Production growth to 2014/15: 27.3%. We are optimistic that Malaysia should be able to meet 85% rice self-sufficiency by 2020.
- Poultry production and consumption to 2014/15: 25.2% and 17.7% respectively. This will be due to increased demand from those on higher incomes and consumer perceptions that poultry is healthier and safer than pork.
- Cocoa production to 2014/15: 32.9% to 26,250 tonnes. This has come from increased government and private investment, as well as more export opportunities, especially to Asian consumers.
- 2011 Real GDP Growth Forecast: 4.9% (predicted to average 5.4% from now until 2015).
- Consumer Price Inflation: 2.4% y-o-y in January.

Industry Developments

The rice sector is being given special highlight through the Economic Transformation Program as the government has chosen the industry as a key sector to ensure food security. This will be done through the government-led MYR2.7bn (US$886mn) Entry Point Projects that will focus on increasing the scale of rice production, with special emphasis placed on the Muda region in Eastern Malaysia because it produces higher-yielding rice. According to official estimates, the Muda area contributes to 40% of total rice produced and has an average rice yield of 5.0 metric tonnes per hectare, which is 34% higher than the national average yield.

The poultry sector is also another of Malaysia's key focus points given its professed aim to become a halal food hub. As a predominately Muslim country, the Malaysian government believes it is perfectly placed to become a key food supplier to other Muslim countries, who will be confident that Malaysia's food exports will be prepared to halal standards - the proposition of an integrated halal poultry production centre further boosts the country in reaching that goal. Another example of government support for the sector are plans to encourage free-range chicken rearing on palm oil plantation estates. This is to utilise the vast areas of palm plantations to grow what is regarded as more organic and healthy 'free-range' chicken. A total of MYR240mn is expected to be channelled into the enterprises and should generate 6,000 jobs. The targeted GNI contribution is MYR200mn.

Malaysia was once a major player in global cocoa production, but output has fallen drastically in recent years. The government has initiated several projects to create high yielding, disease-resistant seeds, the most notable of which is with Swiss chocolate giant Barry Callebaut. Despite this, the sector remains a shadow of its former self and we expect production to grow only gradually from 2008/09 levels.

by S. C.
03 april 2011, World News > Asia