Malaysia Aims to Reduce Corn Import Independency


Oct 17, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minute

Corn is the 3rd largest agricultural crop in the world after wheat and rice. Malaysian Government prioritized grain Corn as one of the new sources of national wealth. It imports nearly 100% of its Corn from Brazil, Argentina, and other countries. The grain Corn industry is relatively small in Malaysia, having an annual output of 60,000 tons. However, the development of the livestock industry, especially ruminants, broilers, and swine, requires millions of tons of grain Corn as the main component of their feeds. Most Corn goes into poultry production.

Local study reveals why grain Corn farming has not taken off in Malaysia. There is no suitable variety to be planted; the cost of production is very high; there is no appropriate machinery available, especially for harvesting and drying; and there is not much Government support and intervention in marketing the produce. It is no wonder then that Malaysia must import grain Corn every year. The country imported 3.7 million tons of Corn in 2020-2021.

The USDA forecasts that MY 2022/23 Corn consumption for feed will be stable at 3.5 million tons. Pressure to expand poultry production to keep up with population growth will be mitigated by continuing thin profit margins in the industry, as well as the availability of alternative feeds

As per Agflow data, Argentina was the largest import market of Malaysia, with 2.5 million tons in 2021-2022, followed by Brazil (0.3 million tons). In 2020, Malaysia imported Corn worth $989M, becoming the 13th largest importer of Corn in the world. In the same year, Corn was Malaysia’s 30th most imported product. Malaysia imports Corn primarily from: Argentina ($677M), Brazil ($295M), the United States ($10.4M), Pakistan ($2.72M), and India ($1.64M).

At the same time, Malaysia exported Corn worth $3.22M. The main destination of Corn exports from Malaysia is Brunei ($1.38M), Singapore ($1.09M), Indonesia ($487k), Hong Kong ($210k), and Burma ($14.6k).

Malaysia Aims to Reduce Corn Import Independency

Malaysian Government Policy on Corn

The Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry targets a 30% increase in grain Corn production for the animal feed industry in the next five years. This is to meet the demand and accommodate the need for animal feed while reducing dependence on imported grain Corn. Grain Corn has been cultivated in Malaysia since the 80s, but this crop is not popular among farmers who prefer to grow sweet Corn, which fetches a higher price.

The Government targets cultivation of about 80,000 ha of grain Corn nationwide by 2033. As a result, Malaysia plans to reduce dependency on imported Corn by at least 30%. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries aims to develop a Grain Corn Industry Development Project to achieve this target by 2030.

Deputy Secretary-General Badrul Hisham Mohd said the country imports almost 4 million tons of feed Corn valued at $1.40 billion per year. He said a large area is needed for planting Corn. “We want to connect commodity industry players to be equally involved in this crop. We are also discussing with palm oil industry players so that they can allocate 10% of their land to plant Corn,” he added.

Mr.Hisham explained that efforts to reduce dependence on grain Corn import started in 2015 and would take 15 years through three phases of implementation. According to him, a long period is needed to enable research and studies with stakeholders to create a stable industry.

“We are now at the end of the five-year pilot phase, from 2015 to 2022, and after that move on to the consolidation and expansion phase. During this period, we evaluate various aspects that need to be considered, including cultivation methods, appropriate use of seeds, the weather, quality control, and others,” he noted.

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