Agro-food sector growth remains positive, despite global uncertainty - PM

IPOH: The growth of the agro-food sector in the country remains positive despite the uncertainty of the global and domestic economic markets.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the significant contribution of the agro-food sector to Domestic Output Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022 was RM173.9 billion or 11.5 per cent.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister said this contribution covers the production of agro-food in the agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors.

"Similarly, the trend of increasing trade deficit in the agro-food sector in the last three years. The high dependence on food imports reaching RM75.5 billion in 2022 is a challenge that needs to be addressed to increase the level of national food security.

"The potential of the agro-food sector needs to be developed as one of the main contributors to the national economy," he said at the launch of 2023 National Farmers, Breeders and Fishermen's Day (HPPNK) celebrations at Bulatan Sultan Azlan Shah here, today.

The text of his speech was read by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

Also present were Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu and Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad.

Anwar added that the focus of the current Madani government to elevate and dignify the agro-food sector is on the right track.

"Food security is given special focus in the 2024 Budget Sustainable Agenda which is themed Economic Reform, Empowering the People.

"This budget is a reflection of efforts to intensify the survival of the country's agro-food industry to increase food production locally and reduce import dependency," he said.

Anwar said that various efforts are being implemented by the government to provide inclusive incentives to food producers. Among them were initiatives for rice and padi fields and initiatives for fishermen's subsidies.

"Meanwhile, the Food Security Strengthening Programme with an allocation of RM400 million provides a special focus on increasing food production locally that still depends on imported sources.

"Agrobank provides loan facilities to agro-food entrepreneurs with the availability of funds of up to RM430 million to support the increase in agricultural production capacity and encourage the competitiveness of young agropreneurs," he said.

To protect the produce of farmers, breeders and fishermen faced with disasters, he said the Agricultural Disaster Fund was introduced with an allocation of RM50 million to compensate up to 50 per cent of the value of losses due to disasters.

"This budget announcement however needs to be followed up with a thorough action by the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry to ensure the success of its implementation," Anwar said.

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