August 10, 2022


Sabah, Malaysia sets aside funds to drive productivity agricultural products



The local government of Sabah, Malaysia, has allocated RM561.81 million (US$126 million) under its 2022 Budget to ensure the sustained productivity and quality of its agricultural products.


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the budget was also to ensure that Sabah's self-sufficiency level (SSL) increases annually through various modernisation initiatives. He said the agriculture sector, which covers crops, livestock and fisheries, is one of the three main economic sectors of the five-year Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) Development Plan from 2021.


Economic growth, he said, will be driven by a faster-than-expected recovery in consumer demand, greater investor confidence and consequently, a more robust recovery in domestic economic activity.


Hajiji was speaking at the launch of the 12th edition of the Livestock, Aquaculture and Agriculture (LAA Sabah) Exhibition at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here.


The chief minister's speech was delivered by Deputy Chief Minister and Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan.


Hajiji said Sabah was among the main exporters of fresh fish produce in Malaysia, contributing RM2.03 billion (US$449 million) or about 15.7% annually to the state's gross domestic product (GDP).


"The state government is focusing on downstream processing for its capture fishery into high-quality products," Hajiji said. "With the federal empowerment on deep sea fishing to the Fisheries Department of Sabah, there is huge potential for investors to venture into deep sea fishing and related downstream industries."


Hajiji said the prospect remained bright for the livestock sector as further expansion and effective improvement in key strategic enablers were in sight and could enhance the value chain systems of the entire industry.


"By 2030, the population of buffalo and cattle will be 26,248 heads and 148,305 heads, respectively," he said. "The SSL for beef is projected to increase throughout the period until it reaches 21.3% by 2030.


"The agriculture industry is an important contributor to the Malaysian economy by providing rural employment, uplifting rural income and ensuring national food security.


"It also acts as a catalyst and is a key pillar to the country's export. This is also an opportune time as East Malaysia itself is a growth market for the agriculture, livestock and fishery and aquaculture."


Hajiji added that Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan had a total combined population of six million in 2021.


Sabah's agriculture sector alone contributed 15.9% to the state's GDP in 2021, the third highest contribution after its services sector at 47% and mining and quarrying at 26%, he said.


On the LAA Sabah, held concurrently with the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture & Agrotourism (MAHA 2022), Hajiji believed it would serve as an invaluable platform for participants to develop business partnerships, build new networks and to catch up on the latest industry trends.


With the commitment and efforts of the government in transforming this sector, coupled wit the rapid development of information technology and communication, he said the agriculture sector still shows promises despite some issues and challenges.

- New Straits Times

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