Malaysian Government Announces Urban Agriculture Initiative

March 2024

In February 2024, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced the government’s plan to introduce a targeted urban agriculture program to boost the country’s agricultural output. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and other relevant ministries and agencies were given a month to submit suitable plans for the program.

Anwar highlighted the need to explore and emulate the success of urban farming programs in neighboring Singapore for implementation in areas with limited land, starting with Kuala Lumpur. He emphasized the importance of urban agriculture, particularly for the urban poor, in addition to ongoing agricultural efforts. Anwar also urged ministers to consider providing special additional allocations to enhance agricultural activities in urban areas.

Due to Malaysia’s heavy reliance on food and beverage imports, particularly raw materials such as wheat and dairy products, the country faces a significant challenge. In 2022, food imports reached MYR 75.6 billion (USD 15.99 billion), surpassing exports of MYR 44.6 billion (USD 9.4 billion), resulting in a food product trade deficit of MYR 31 billion (USD 6.6 billion), marking a 24.3% increase from 2021. As urban areas, notably the Klang Valley (covering Kuala Lumpur and Selangor), witness a continuous decline in food self-sufficiency, there is a pressing need to prioritize urban farming to mitigate dependency on imports. Several local companies in Kuala Lumpur, including Cultiveat, Sunway XFarms, and Urban Hijau, have engaged in urban farming initiatives.

(Sources: Malay Mail; New Straits Times)

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