The commodity sector remains the largest net exporter, recording a trade balance of RM100.8 billion last year compared with electrical and electronics RM90.1 billion and petroleum and gas RM36 billion, said the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
In 2017, exports of commodity sector in 2017 recorded the highest peak since 2011 (RM141.1 billion) where total export earnings of commodity products amounted to RM140.3 billion or 15% of Malaysia’s total merchandise export, 14.4% higher than RM122.6 billion in 2016.
The export performance of major commodity products in 2017 are as follows:
(i) Palm oil and palm-based products which constitutes 55.5% of total exports of commodity sector, increased by 14.6% to RM77.8 billion;
(ii) Natural rubber and rubber-based products which constitutes 23% of total exports of commodity products, increased by 30.2% to RM32.3 billion;
(iii) Timber and timber-based products which constitutes 16.6% of total exports of commodity products, increased by 5% to RM23.2 billion;
(iiii) Cocoa products which constitutes 4% of total exports of commodity products, decreased by 3% to RM5.6 billion;
(v) Tobacco products, which constitutes 0.8% of total exports of commodity products, decreased by 29.8% to RM1.1 billion; and
(vi) Pepper products, which constitutes 0.2% of total exports of commodity products, decreased by 37% to RM308.9 million.
Despite the fierce challenges faced, Mah attributed this outstanding performance to the perseverance and hard work of all involved, including from the industry, smallholders and government agencies.
The Minister hopes that efforts to uphold these primary industries will continue to flourish, filling the rice bowls of over 1.2 million smallholders.