To some the agriculture business Malaysia might seem quaint and unexciting, but it is a vital one. The Malaysian government has provided support for various agencies and initiatives to revitalise the sector. There is plenty of opportunity for those willing enough to seek it.
The agriculture sector is no longer just about production and manufacturing. It has become an important part of the government’s push to expand the biotechnology sector, and that is one area of growth worth looking into.
Under the National Agrofood Policy (NAP), the government is targeting the agricultural sector to increase the Gross National Income by RM28.9 billion to reach RM49.1 billion by 2020. The aim is to both boost domestic production to produce sufficient food for local consumption and generate income from export markets.
In 2012, the Bioeconomy Transformation Programme was launched to diversify and accelerate the country’s capabilities in biotechnology. This would include the agro, healthcare and industrial sectors pertaining to biotechnology.
As part of the initiative, the Bioeconomy Corp was created to promote a knowledge-based bioeconomy, by establishing a sustainable ecosystem of R&D and commercialisation in agriculture, healthcare and industrial bio-based industries.
Bioeconomy Corp regularly organises events such as the BioMalaysia & Asia Pacific Bioeconomy 2016 to help local companies gain visibility as well as match them with other companies globally.
Funding-wise, the government provides grants and loans. AgroBank, formerly known as Bank Pertanian Malaysia (Agricultural Bank of Malaysia) provides various grants as well as incentives.
One such fund is the Fund For Food (3F), created to help increase the production of food in the country and reduce food imports. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) both provide financing under the fund. BNM and MOA both offer a minimum of RM10,000 but the BNM’s maximum funding is RM5,000,000, while for the MOA Fund it is RM10,000,000.
Besides funding, SMEs can also seek guidance and advice from SME Corporation Malaysia, the central coordinating agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Its rule is to formulate overall policies and strategies for SMEs and coordinate implementation of SME development programmes across all related Ministries and Agencies.
If you’re willing to embrace the future of what technology and modernisation is bringing to agriculture, there’s a lot of potential in the Malaysian agricultural sector. The question remains: