malaysiaMalaysia is a South-East Asian country, comprising Peninsular Malaysia, and the States of Sabah and Sarawak located on the island of Borneo. Malaysia is located in the immediate north of the Equator line, and is separated from Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. The climate is tropical, that is, warm and humid throughout the year. Annual rainfall varies from 2000 mm to 2500 mm. Locations at higher altitudes have cold temperatures. Malaysia’s population, ethnically quite diversified, is estimated at 28 million people (2010). The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur.

Context

Context

The country is ruled by a king whose role is largely ceremonial. Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and three federal territories. Each state is divided into districts which are sub-divided into mukim. Mountains which divide the country’s east and west coasts are heavily forested. In terms of economic growth in the region, Malaysia has one of the most impressive records. The national GDP in 2011 was about $450 billion.

Over the years, the agriculture sector has declined in terms of contribution to the GDP-- from 38 percent in 1962 to just 8.3 percent in 2005. Similarly, the employment in the agriculture sector has been steadily declining as farming follows more labor saving technologies and the displaced labor shift to other sectors to earn higher wages. In 2010, agriculture employed only 10.9 percent of the total work force. However agriculture is still economically important as major export income comes from palm oil exports. Landholdings are generally small. Average size of farms in Peninsular Malaysia is about two hectares, in Sabah about 3.5 hectares and about eight hectares in Sarawak. Main crops are rice, rubber and oil palm, but food crops, vegetables, fruits and spices are also grown. During the last five years attempts have been made to revive the agriculture sector. Food crops are also being emphasized in the interest of national food security.

In terms of donor assistance to Malaysia, Japan has been quite active. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has a number of regional projects which also cover Malaysia. Thanks due to its sustained economic growth, Malaysia is now a relatively well developed country and keen to share its experience and technical expertise with less developed countries. The Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program (MTCP), started in 1980, is a bilateral initiative—evidence of the country’s commitment to South-South Cooperation. MTCP focuses primarily on capacity building and human resource development. Presently, the program serves 135 countries in different regions of the world, and involves sending Malaysian experts to other countries, and the organization of training courses. Some of the countries which have benefited from the program are Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, Cambodia, Algeria, Tanzania, South Africa, and Sudan. Technical assistance is provided in a number of fields including agriculture.

Key Statistics and Indicators

Indicator

Value

Year  

Agricultural land (sq km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)

78700

23.95

1,800,000

23.95

0.06

2009

2009

2009

2009

2009

Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)

769.79

2009

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

11.86

116.79

13.99

8.93

2011

2010

2011

2011

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

8770

2011

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

93.11

98.45

98.38

100.07

107.34

2010

2010

2010

2010

2009

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)

127.03

61

2011

2011

Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*

28,859,154

86.44

78,831,66

27.31

3,409,000

11,969,964

1,612,000

1.12

21.02

2011

2010

2011

2011

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO

Acknowledgements

  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (January 2013)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson

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