Agrobank: Positive outlook for agriculture

KUALA LUMPUR: Agrobank says that the outlook for agriculture sector for the year 2016 is positive and promising, with rising demands for local and export market particularly for agro-food sector.

According to Datuk Wan Mohd Fadzmi Wan Othman, president/chief executive officer, agriculture is still a key factor for economic growth.

He said, “Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, agriculture GDP is projected to achieve RM93.2 billion and the figure is estimated to reach RM110.7 billion in the year 2020.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (MOA) is very committed to address the trade balance deficit of RM17 billion recorded and lessen the country’s dependency on food imports.

The ministry is developing various plans to increase Malaysia’s Self Sufficiency Level (SSL) for food.”  Agrobank believes that technology is the solution towards increasing food and agriculture products productivity and is keen to support businesses to use technology in order to increase their productivity.

Fadzmi said the allocation of RM5.3 billion for Budget 2016 as announced by the Prime Minister in October 2015 to modernise the agricultural sector, demonstrates the government’s strong commitment to transform the agriculture sector for much higher productivity and operates commercially .

Fadzmi also explained that for businesses to invest in technology, access to funding/ financing is essential.

“As a bank that understands agriculture better, Agrobank provides a comprehensive financing solution for agriculture that includes financing for upstream activities such as the supply of agricultural production inputs to downstream activities such as processing and selling of agricultural products to consumers.

“For Agrobank, we will support and finance any viable business and projects related to agriculture sector,” he said.

According to him, Agrobank covers 10.43 per cent for financing in primary agriculture in this country as at November 2015.

As for financing for agrofood sector, Agrobank’s shares is quite promising with a total value of RM2.73 billion or 23.62 per cent share of total outstanding loan worth RM11.57 billion in the banking system, as at November 2015.

In support of government initiatives to increase food production, Agrobank also has various financing programs that aim to assist agropreneurs in expanding their businesses such as Fund For Food (3F).

This financing programmes come with attractive profit rate which is as low as 3.75 per cent per annum.

“There are indeed huge opportunities in agriculture as we aim to improve our SSL and reduce our import dependency for food.

In addition, there is also a massive opportunity to export our food products to Asean market and also global halal market,” said Fadzmi.

“As of 2014, the Asean market was worth over US$1.4 trillion in total consumer expenditure and it covers food and agro-products items.

As for halal food market, it is approximately worth US$632 billion or 16 per cent of the global food industry, and Malaysia is a trusted brand for halal food.

“There is indeed a lucrative export market for a wide range of agricultural products for Asean and halal market.

With its huge potential and prospects, the outlook looks positive for business in agriculture.”  — Bernama

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