Transformation and economic growth of the Malaysian agricultural sector

This paper evaluates the efforts by the Government of Malaysia to revitalize and transform the agricultural sector to be a major engine of growth for the economy. The analyses conducted pointed to a fairly favourable outcome considering the encouraging growth that was achieved in Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001–2005). Agricultural growth during the period was at 3.0%, which was 2.5 times higher than the 1.2% achieved in the Seventh Malaysia Plan (1996–2000). With the right strategies and programmes in place, coupled with appropriate institutional support and resource allocation, it is expected that the Malaysian agricultural sector could be revitalized, transformed and significantlly contribute to the growth of the national economy. However, in order for the sector to sustain growth, strategies formulated must be market driven focusing on increasing productivity and enhancing competitiveness. Growth cannot be sustained through restituting protectionist measures and by increasing subsidies. In stimulating the growth in this era of trade liberalization and globalization, this paper argues that building competitiveness to be a ‘global player’ might be the only chance the country has in order to succeed. To meet this objective, a few strategies were suggested.

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