Dimensions of Food and Livelihood Security of Agricultural Trade: The Case of Malaysia

  • Tengku Ariff Tengku Ahmad


This chapter examines the question of the dual dimensionality of agricultural trade policies in Malaysia to maintain domestic production and self-sufficiency levels of strategic food crops for national food security, while at the same time encouraging the exports of horticultural and industrial crops to enhance the income of farmers for livelihood security, wealth creation and economic growth. This chapter first describes the Malaysian economy and its agriculture as well as its changing structure over the years. It then traces the evolution of Malaysia’s agricultural and trade policies, where policy efforts, though directed towards economic growth, were also balanced with programmes that were ‘social and strategic’ in nature to address income and food security as well as social equity issues in the economy. Next, the chapter analyses the economic and trade performance of Malaysia, especially with respect to agricultural development and trade, using traditional indicators such as growth in GDP and exports and also other indicators of social and strategic achievements including those related to poverty alleviation and food and income security. The last two sections examine the case and effects of different policy regimes for palm oil, an export-oriented industry, which was ‘unprotected’, and the paddy and rice industries, which are highly protected in Malaysia. Finally, a number of policy reform options are proposed to more prudently address issues of food and livelihood security as well as economic growth for Malaysia.


Poverty Alleviation Asian Financial Crisis Agricultural Trade Livelihood Security National Food Security 
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Copyright information

© Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economy and Technology Management Research Centre of the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)SerdangMalaysia

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