Unique agencies to cater for Malaysia’s specific agricultural needs
Under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, five separate agencies lend extra and more fine-tuned support to different aspects of the sector.
Agrobank: Agrobank is set to
provide financing to participants in Malaysia’s agriculture sector and agro- based industries. Formerly known as Bank Pertanian Malaysia, Agrobank is a fully modernised financial institution that caters for both agriculture (it has captured 95 per cent of the sector) and non- agrarian sectors. In line with the government’s plans to change Malaysia from a low-income to a high-income economy, the bank has seized upon opportunities to finance research into developing and commercialising high- yielding and value-added products. One recent example was the discovery of two components in palm kernel cakes – traditionally used for animal feed – that can be extracted and used in cosmetics, medicines and food.
FAMA: The Federal Agricultural
Marketing Authority (FAMA) is the agency that promotes and undertakes the economic and social development of the 230,000 smallholder farm families
throughout Malaysia that make up the various farmers’ organisations. These small-scale farmers, who produce between 60 and 70 per cent across the agricultural sector, can rely on FAMA for information on and protection in pricing, regulation, and grading standards.
Farmers’ Organisation Authority: The role of the Farmers’ Organisation Authority is to look after the wellbeing of smallholder farmers by providing them with assistance in optimising all forms of government aid
available. One of the challenges the FOA faces is to encourage as many young professionals as possible to enter the sector as entrepreneur farmers and as farmer leaders in management. This initiative is intended to revitalise the sector, and thus prevent the farming population from dwindling in addition to maintaining a high level of innovation.
LKIM: The Fisheries Development
Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) is a 39-year old institution entrusted with developing and expanding the fisheries industry –
With soft loans, consulting, R&D and more, the agencies are adding value to agriculture
including coastal fisheries, deep-sea fishing, processing and marketing – as well as raising the income level of Malaysian fishermen. LKIM development programmes provide fishermen with the equipment (and the financing, if need be) needed to maintain a high level of quality and environmental responsibility. The authority also offers assistance and support to the wives and children of fishermen.
MARDI: Striving towards becoming
a world-renowned R&D organisation in food, agriculture and bio-based industries within the next five years, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) works to increase Malaysia’s agro-based industries’ competitiveness and commercialisation. MARDI allocates resources and funding for research into raising productivity and efficiency levels, often through technology, which it then transfers to the farmers. One of the institute’s recent contributions has been a reduction in the volume of food imports, thanks to its R&D programme that identified and developed new varieties of high-yielding, high-quality and pest- and disease-resistant rice. Indeed, more than 90 per cent of Malaysian paddy farmers use varieties produced by MARDI.
8 World Report