23rd September, 2016
MELAKA: The country’s agricultural sector exports rose by 2.6 per cent to RM87.8 billion in the first six months of this year compared with the corresponding period last year.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said the increase was a good achievement despite the current poor world economic climate.
“A lot of economic challenges were experienced this year with several major countries like China facing economic downturn but our agricultural sector exports recorded an increase and that is a good thing.
“The higher prices of agricultural exports, such as coconuts, were one of the reasons for the increase,” he told reporters after officiating the Malaysian International Agriculture Technology Exhibition 2016 at Melaka International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh here on Thursday.
Mah said the country’s agricultural sector exports last year was valued at RM184.4 billion while the commodity product exports constituted 64.5 per cent of the sector.
“The commodity product exports rose to RM117.1 billion last year compared with RM116.5 billion in 2014. The major commodity product exports are palm oil, rubber, timber products, pepper and cocoa,” he said.
Mah said the agricultural sector was an important pillar of the national economy with a significant contribution of 8.9 per cent to the gross domestic product last year.
On the expected increase in global demand for palm oil, Mah said, Malaysia must meet it in a sustainable way via adopting technology to boost productivity of oil palm.
“If we can increase our average oil extraction rate from 20 per cent now to 24 per cent it would lead to an immediate 20 per cent increase in productivity without opening new land for oil palm plantation.
“Therefore, we have to find ways to achieve the four per cent increase. This is where the research and breakthrough findings in palm oil are needed to make sure the industry is able to meet the rising global demand,” he said. –Bernama