KUALA LUMPUR: The agro-food sector, which includes agriculture, manufacturing and services, grew by 0.3% to RM43.3 billion in the first quarter of 2024, attributed to effective strategies in managing the country’s food supply system.

Deputy Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM) Minister, Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup said the sector contributed 10.9% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“In terms of growth, the three agro-food sectors performed well - agriculture at 1.6%, manufacturing at 0.5% and services at 3.9%,“ he said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today.

He said this in reply to a query from Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodi (GPS-Sri Aman) on the strategies to manage and enhance Malaysia’s food supply system, including food safety monitoring, food waste management and the promotion of local food products.

Arthur highlighted that strategies by KPKM to boost agricultural production and promote local agro-food products include expanding the Large-Scale SMART Padi Field Project (SMART SBB) and strengthening the aquaculture industry.

He added that besides these efforts, KPKM has also enhanced the beef cattle industry and intensified research and development, commercialisation and innovation (R&D&C&I) activities.

“On food safety monitoring, the Ministry of Health acts as both the Competent and Regulatory Authority. Initiatives include implementing the Food Safety Assurance Programme, certifying organic food and ensuring product safety,“ he said.

“At the agricultural level, KPKM, through its departments and agencies, has implemented measures to manage post-harvest losses, focusing on comprehensive padi management and enhancing the marketability of fresh produce while minimising losses,“ he added.