Versatile agricultural policies to meet escalating demands

State Executive Councilor Datuk Saarani Mohamad
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Various strategies have been implemented to enhance the competitiveness of local agricultural industry of Perak state.
Various strategies have been implemented to enhance the competitiveness of local agricultural industry of Perak state.

The state of Perak with its fertile land and abundant rainfall, is a major producer of fruits and vegetables in the country, and the third largest food producing state.

Datuk Saarani Mohamad, who is helming the Committee of Chairman for Rural Development, Plantation, Agriculture, Housing and Local Government in the Perak state executive council, says Perak is the fifth largest vegetable producer in the country. He says the state has identified areas to expand vegetable growing farms in a bid to further boost production in line with the federal government’s policy to lift food production.

Saarani points out that the state government has implemented several strategies through relevant government agencies to reinforce the competitiveness of local farmers in the face of mounting challenges from China and other Asean countries while offering assistance and incentives to help local farmers export their products.

The Perak state government has taken the initiative to learn from the experiences of other successful agricultural countries in hope of boosting agricultural production in the state.

In 2012, the Perak State Agricultural Development Corporation visited Thailand to learn about gaharu farm management and processing.

In January 2014, the state government-run agriculture technology institute visited Taiwan in a order to train more idealistic officials for more proactive and innovative management of agriculture. Upon their return, these officials will pass on their knowhow to local farmers.

 

Perak state govertment concern on agricultural productions.
Perak state govertment concern on agricultural productions.

Permanent farming areas

“The state government hopes to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of relevant industries through the transformation and modernization of the food processing industry in creating a high-quality, high-income agricultural community in Perak.”

Perak, which is physically adjoining the country’s premier vegetable and flower producing area of Cameron Highlands, has also drawn up plans to further expand the existing farming areas, from five to eight. The existing five permanent farming areas are located in Gua Tempurong in Kinta district, Titi Gantung in Perak Tengah, Lekir in Manjung district, and Sungkai and Slim River in Batang Padang. The three new farming areas are Perlop in Kuala Kangsar district, Bukit Sapi in Hulu Perak and Kampar.

The state agriculture department is currently focusing on the agro-based industries in Perak Tengah, Larut-Matang-Selama, Kuala Kangsar and Hulu Perak districts, while coconut plantation is mainly carried out in the Hilir Perak and Manjung districts. Hilir Perak is known for its wide variety of coconut products such as coconut candy, shredded coconut, coconut oil, dried coconut, coconut flesh and coconut handicraft. The district of Larut, Matang and Selama, meanwhile, is a renowned durian producing area. Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the district of Manjung has been identified as a major durian and mango producing area. Training will also be provided for the employees in this sector.

Saarani also says the Perak State Agricultural Development Corporation will also concentrate on food production and beverage industries, including herbal beverage, fruit drinks, gaharu tea and teh misai kucing.

The Perak timber industries company under the State Agricultural Development Corporation has also invested in large scale gaharu cultivation in Kuala Kangsar district for processing into gaharu tea from its leaf.

In addition, the State Agricultural Development Corporation has also set up a joint venture to breed Norwegian fish at the incubation center in Grik, and has plans to further expand the breeding farm to the neighboring Tasik Lenggong.

Perak’s agricultural products
  • Farm Crops
    Maize
    Wheat
    Others (tomato, ginger, groundnut)
  • Industrial crops
    Rubber (natural rubber, synthetic rubber, rubber wood)
    Oil palm (oil palm residue, oil palm fiber, fatty cream, oil palm essence, oil palm fruit)
    Coconut (coconut milk, coconut shell, coconut powder)
    Others (cocoa, teh misai kuching)
  • Ornamental plants
    Cut flowers, cut stems
  • Forest products
    Timber
  • Fruits
    Guava (guava juice)
    Lime
    Starfruit
    Mandarin orange
    Others (durian, pomelo, rambutan, papaya)
  • Others
    Minerals (calcium carbonate, kaolin)
    Organic fertilizers (chicken dung)
    Bricks
    Pesticides, cotton

(Source: Perak state agriculture department)

Diversified agricultural products

According to government information, Perak exports a diverse range of agricultural products including farm crops, industrial crops, ornamental plants, forest products and fruits.

The main produce for export includes live ducks and the related downstream products, poultry and bird’s nest products.

According to state agriculture department statistics, industrial crops are the most important agricultural products for Perak. The state’s major agricultural products for export are palm oil products, rubber, coconut and other crops, with a combined export value of RM347.58 million or almost 86.7% of total exports in 2014.

As of December 2014, Perak had a total land area of 389,164 hectares under oil palm cultivation, an increase of 1.2% or 4,570 hectares from the 384,594 hectares for 2013. Meanwhile, palm oil production has also increased by 1.2% from 1.884 million tons to 1.907 million tons. Palm oil production made up approximately 4.9% of the state’s total GDP in 2013.

There were as many as 36,157 investors and farmers from 474 estates involved themselves in oil palm plantation in 2014. Local growers mainly focus on the production of crude palm oil and palm kernel with the total revenue estimated at RM5.347 billion.

Palm oil production made up 4.9% of Perak state GDP in 2013.
Palm oil production made up 4.9% of Perak state GDP in 2013.

Modern agricultural product zone

Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) has put in place many favorable factors to spearhead the sustained development of fishery and aquacultural breeding activities in the state of Perak.

The Perak government will draw up new policies based on the biotechnological proposals from fishing industry operators in the state, with a focus on deepening the cooperation among the related industries in a bid to enhance the value of biotechnology industry.

 

  • To create remarkable economic contribution.
  • Supported by valued-added activities (such as R&D, clinical and laboratory tests).
  • To create significant industrial synergy.
  • To improve the production of existing agricultural and industrial activities.
  • To implement bio-safety initiatives.

Northern Corridor Economic Region has proposed to transform the agricultural sector into a modern “food zone” for Malaysia.

NCER currently offers assistance and facilities to a number of agricultural sectors in the state, including the first ever biomass animal feed, tiger prawn breeding farm and salt water prawn breeding farm.

NCER is providing stimulus to promote the growth of high-level breeding production in a bid to establish a comprehensive aquacultural industry supply chain. This will need the full cooperation from relevant government agencies in the state.

  1. The Fisheries Department: technology and bio-safety
  2. The Fisheries Research Institute: fish and shrimp species
  3. Universiti Malaysia Terengganu: animal feed research
  4. Universiti Malaysia Perlis: marine fish

NCER is working closely with various related government agencies to set up a regional joint committee to ensure the smooth implementation of the NCER aquacultural program. This will allow the state of Perak to have the capability to develop and produce a wide range of side products to meet the local and oversea market needs while cutting back on the state’s dependency on food import. The key to the aquacultural industry development in Perak is sustainable operation and a fully developed supply chain.