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Insights

Malaysia Agriculture - Statistics and facts

By

Paul TS Chen

Key Insights:
9.6% Share of agriculture, fishing and forestry to the GDP in Malaysia
1.86mn Number of people employed in the agriculture in Malaysia
98.9bn MYR Value of GDP from the agriculture industry in Malaysia

Malaysia's agricultural sector faced significant challenges earlier this year as heavy torrential rains caused widespread flooding, posing potential damages amounting to millions of Malaysian ringgit. Agriculture plays a vital role in Malaysia, contributing approximately 9.6 percent to the country's GDP.


As the world's second-largest producer of palm oil, Malaysia heavily relies on this commodity as a key agricultural export. The country also cultivates other valuable agricultural commodities such as natural rubber and rice, which serves as a staple food. However, the sector faces multiple risks, including climate change-induced natural disasters like flooding and labor shortages.


Palm oil and rubber are the primary cash crops in Malaysia, cultivated for their commercial value and exported globally. In 2021, the value of agricultural exports increased by over 30 percent, with palm oil and palm-based products being the major export commodities. While food crops like rice, fruits, and vegetables are also important, domestic production falls short of meeting local demands. Malaysia imported over one million metric tons of rice in 2021, fulfilling approximately 30 percent of the country's staple food requirements.


Livestock, particularly the poultry industry, contributes significantly to Malaysia's agricultural sector, with the poultry industry alone contributing around 10 billion Malaysian ringgit to the GDP in 2021. Chicken remains the most consumed meat among Malaysians, with 63.5 percent of the population being Muslim. Per capita consumption of poultry in Malaysia is ten times higher compared to other livestock products.


Climate change poses a major challenge for farmers in Malaysia, requiring efforts to mitigate its impacts on the agricultural sector and promote sustainable farming practices. The government has allocated increased funding to the agriculture sector in the 2023 budget to address these challenges. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shortage of foreign workers due to travel restrictions, impacting Malaysian palm oil production, as large plantations heavily rely on labor from neighboring countries. Although non-Malaysian labor force rebounded in 2021, the temporary shortage had implications for the industry.


The future of Malaysia's agriculture sector remains uncertain due to ongoing challenges. An upcoming forecast of El Nino in mid-2023 could potentially result in a prolonged drought, further straining the sector. However, with continued support from the Malaysian government, the agriculture industry is expected to withstand these challenges. It's important to note that this text provides general information, and Statista assumes no liability for its completeness or accuracy. Statistics may contain more up-to-date data than referenced in the text due to varying update cycles.

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