January 15, 2004
Malaysia Targets RM5.86 Billion Aquaculture Output By 2010
Malaysia wants to increase aquaculture production from the current 177,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes, worth RM5.86 billion by 2010. To facilitate this, the government has instituted the Third National Agriculture Policy (NAP).
This is part of efforts to create a positive balance in the country's trade, the Ministry of Agriculture deputy secretary-general Datuk Siti Balkish Shariff said.
"As a net food importer, Malaysia is experiencing a negative balance of trade. Our food imports far exceed food exports.
"Currently, our food import bill totals RM14 billion whereas the value of food exported is less than RM10 billion.
"Hence, the export of fish and fish products has to be increased significantly," she said at a seminar on "Market Access, Opportunities and Challenges in the Shrimp Industry" in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The ministry expects the 600,000-tonne production target will come from freshwater fish (200,000 tonnes), shrimps (150,000 tonnes), marine fish (120,000 tonnes) and dry seaweeds (30,000 tonnes), among others.
Balkish said in the wake of the economic challenges of 1997, the agricultural sector had been tasked to be the third engine of growth.
In this regard, during the first three years of the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2000-2003) and with the full-scale operation of NAP3, the sector grew at 1.5 per cent a year.