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Friday, March 9, 2018

FUTURE AGRICULTURE IN MALAYSIA (Part 1)

Malaysia has been very successful in developing the country through organized and focused economic development plans. Globally, Malaysia has been ranked sixth in 2014 on Ease of Doing Business, 20th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2014- 2015, 33rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 and 56th in the World Happiness Index (2013). These indicators have proven that Malaysia is capable to promote a new orientation of development focusing towards sustainability and inclusiveness. The development of a nation relies on its citizen’s wellbeing. One of the important factors of citizen’s wellbeing is food production. Food is the backbone of the society. Realising this, the Malaysian government has taken steps to ensure that there is enough food for its population. The emphasis is on self-sustainability. The agro-ecosystem management and agricultural planning has been revamped to ensure sustainability and to include green-friendly values and equitable and inclusiveness of all stake holders. Sustainable development must be inclusive enough to cater and address the population’s wider needs for food, feed, fuel, fibre, furniture, pharmaceuticals and felicity. Constraints such as high implementation cost, and pressing health and environmental concerns require governments to plan their agriculture development towards being trim, mean, focused, not wasteful, savvy, and compliant to the global environmental and health standards. Agro-ecosystem Management Challenges is a factor to be discussed. Malaysia is blessed with fertile soil and abundance of rain since it is located on the world tropical belt. However, to meet the agriculture development objectives Malaysia has to face and overcome social, economic and environmental challenges. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share some basic information with all readers.

(1) Social challenge: 
Malaysia’s population stands at 30,061,121 and is increasing at the rate of 1.8 percent per annum. Increased population increases food demand. Malaysia has not been able to be self-reliance in terms of food supply and still has to depend on import. Current, approximately RM34.5 billion is spent on food import.

(2) Economic challenge :
Malaysia targets to be a high income nation with annual per capita income of RM48,000 by 2020. In 2013, Malaysia’s per capita income is RM33,010. The agriculture sector is seen as one of the major contributors towards achieving this target. The government has allocated RM3 billion annually in an effort to encourage the development of agribusinesses and manage the supply of agricultural commodities, besides creating job opportunities and reduces unemployment which currently stands at 3 percent. The amount allocated includes food subsidy.

(3) Environmental challenge :
Climate change is another challenge that effects agriculture development. Every year Malaysia spends an average of RM3 billion to mitigate natural disaster, particularly flood. In Peninsular Malaysia alone, 29,000 square km of land area has been identified as flood prone, affecting approximately 4.82 million peoples.


Apart from natural disaster, Malaysia is also facing shortage of land for agriculture production. Urbanisation has increased competition for land. Of the total land area of 328,550 square km only 78,700 square km is allocated for agriculture, and only 5.48 percent of which is reserved for plantation development. To be continue in Part 2,3,4 and 5. 
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 1807, Imperial Heritage Hotel,
Bandar Hilir, Melaka,
Malaysia.

(19 RabiulAwal 1439H)

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