Yellow Pages Malaysia explores the link between agriculture and F&B
Agriculture is an important part of Malaysia’s economy as it is a sector that contributes to the nation’s resources and wealth.
The agriculture industry was responsible for almost 9% of Malaysia’s GDP in 2015. Together with the agro-based industry (such as food processing and the manufacture of products from agricultural commodities), it contributed almost 14% to the nation’s GDP.
It also has a wide scope, covering cash crops and industrial commodities such as palm oil, rubber, livestock and aquaculture produce.
These commodities are sent to small industries to be distributed to traders, hypermarkets and local sundry shop owners.
Foodstuff is also sent to manufacturers to be packed into food products. Chillies become chilli sauce. Soybeans are made into bean curds and soy sauce. Bakeries buy eggs for cakes, pastries and cookies at their premises.
All the commodities and trades mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg in the field of F&B.
Fresh fruits are displayed at an open market.
Below are four important agricultural commodities in Malaysia as outlined by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) of the Economic Transformation Programme. Interested to learn how agriculture intersects with the F&B industry? Keep reading!
Fruits and vegetables: Led by the Department of Agriculture, this entry point project aims to export local premium fruits and vegetables to the Middle East and Europe, which import more than 50% of the global production of higher quality local fruits and vegetables that comply with food safety standards. The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry has also targeted to increase the total export value of Malaysian premium fruits and vegetables to RM400 million through strengthening ties with Malaysia’s existing trading partners to create more markets for the country’s fruit and vegetables.
Locally, the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) helps market fruits and vegetables by empowering small market farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs to develop effective marketing strategies. This is done by setting up Rural Transformation Centres (connecting manufacturers and suppliers to users), and educating these traders on using technology to market their products to consumers.
Fruits and vegetables are also among the top draw at the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture & Agrotourism (MAHA), an exhibition at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS), Serdang. The event is important for both business owners to display their products to the public and for consumers to support local agro-based F&B products.
Rubber: This was Malaysia’s leading cash crop before palm oil. The decision to switch from tapping rubber to growing oil palms in Malaysia in the 1980s contributed to the decline in natural rubber production. Under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA), improvements and enhancements are being made to ensure availability of domestic supplies to develop higher-valued rubber products.
The paddy farming project aims to establish Malaysia’s long-term food security and increase the income of paddy farmers.
Palm oil: This is easily the largest agricultural commodity. It accounts for more than 5% of Malaysia’s annual exports, and remains so with the sector moving up the value chain and introducing high-end palm products in food and health-based segments, among others.
Palm oils and fats are processed into products such as cooking oil, shortenings and margarines, as well as used in other food products such as spreads, ice creams and cookies.
Some renowned manufacturers and distributors of the aforementioned products include Lam Soon Edible Oils, Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd and Unilever (Malaysia) Holdings Sdn Bhd.
Paddy farming: Led by Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA), this project aims to establish Malaysia’s long-term food security and increase the income of paddy farmers through the estate farming approach.
The plan is to increase the paddy field yield from 5 metric tons per hectare to 8 metric tons per hectare by 2020 through initiatives such as the introduction of new seed varieties, improved irrigation and larger-scale farm mechanization.
The rice grains are processed by various companies such as Jasmine Food Corporation and Faiza Sdn Bhd, famous for their Jasmine Super 5 and Faiza Basmathi range respectively.
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