Malaysia Population Research Hub

Population, Food Security, Nutrition And Sustainable Development 2021

(Excerpts from Malaysia Country Statement at the 54th Session of the United Nations  Commission on Population and Development, 19-23 April 2021, New York)

Malaysia’s population currently stands at 32,760,284 and is increasing at the rate of  0.6 percent per annum. Increased  population will increases food demand.  Annually, Malaysia spends dependency on food import purchases. 

Malaysia occupies a commendable position  in the 2019 Global Food Security Index,  jumping to 28th place as compared to 48th  in 2018. The national level food availability  data indicates that there are sufficient  supply of major food commodities for the  population. All major foods are available in  sufficient quantities to meet the market  demands. Food access is no longer an  issue for most Malaysians, with better  processing, transport and storage systems  and distribution arrangements.

Malaysia has in place a National Plan of  Action for Nutrition as a blue print to  promote optimal nutritional well-being. The  Plan underscores the importance of  nutrition in enhancing population health and  preventing diet-related diseases. Malaysia  has made great strides in addressing the  problems of undernutrition and  micronutrient deficiencies.

Critical strategies and activities to reduce  specific problems such as protein-calorie  malnutrition and iodine deficiency disorders  are also included in this Plan of Action.  However, the government acknowledges  that more needs to be done to address the  issues of over nutrition, obesity and diet related non-communicable diseases. 2019  Malaysia SDG’s indicator showed  decreasing trends in prevalence of overweight among children under 5 years  from 7.1 per cent in 2015 to 6.0 per cent in  2016 and 5.6 per cent in 2019.

“Food access is no longer an  issue for most Malaysians, with  better processing, transport  and storage systems and  distribution arrangements”

Agriculture is fundamental in shaping food  security and nutrition, where the food  produced by farmers and fisherfolk sufficiently supply and satisfy the  population. Realising this, the Malaysian  government has taken steps to emphasise  on self-sustainability. Agro-ecosystem  management and agricultural planning has  been revamped to ensure sustainability and to include green-friendly values.

To reflect the importance of sustainable  agro-ecosystem, Malaysia has invested  heavily in biotechnology to improve crop  yield and increase its resistance to  environmental stress. Adopting and  integrating the IR4.0 technology is a way  forward to optimise the production of  agricultural system. This conforms to  government’s call for automation and  modernisation in the agricultural sector  through the efficient use of land and  cultivation of cash crops to provide better  returns and increase farmers’ income.

“Agriculture is fundamental  in shaping food security and  nutrition, where the food  produced by farmers and  fisherfolk sufficiently supply  and satisfy the population”

The recent social and economic crisis  triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has  increased food and nutrition insecurity. The  declining bulk demand from the hospitality  and tourism sectors, and the disruption of  the global supply chain have also affected  the agricultural sector. To ease the  economic burden of the people, the  government has introduced initiatives that  cover public health, social security, food  and nutrition security in the shape of food  bank and food basket in collaboration with  non-governmental agency to help mitigate  the impact of the pandemic outbreak. In  order to protect the agricultural sector,  various initiatives have been introduced for  producers, small and medium enterprises  and consumers. 

Malaysia reaffirms commitment to the ICPD  POA by focusing on sustainable population  growth and optimising food production. To  this end, the Government of Malaysia will continue to work towards creating policy  prescriptions to ensure that all people have  access to nutritious, safe and sufficient  food.

Download : PopInfo Issue 1 2021