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Malaysia: ASTI–MARDI Country Note

Malaysia: ASTI–MARDI Country Note

ASTI publicaiton cover

Flaherty, Kathleen; Abu Dardak, Rozhan


International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)

Publication category

Asia and the Pacific

Related publication(s)

Malaysia: ASTI–MARDI Country Brief

Related country page(s)

Despite year-to-year fluctuations, agricultural research investment in Malaysia remained roughly constant between 2002 and 2010. Capacity levels did increase, however, primarily reflecting the recruitment of younger, BSc-qualified researchers. The country’s growing researcher capacity measured against a decreasing number of farmers led to a higher ratio of researchers to farmers. In comparison, research spending intensity fluctuated, largely in response to volatile AgGDP levels. For every $100 of agricultural output, Malaysia spent close to $1.00 on agricultural R&D in 2008 compared with an average of $0.54 for developing countries and $3.07 for high-income countries (Beintema et al 2012). The country’s AgGDP levels accelerated from 2006 driven by high-value export crops; as a result, agricultural research performed by the private sector increased. However, to build on agricultural sector gains, public research can still play a valuable supporting role, especially with regard to research on commodities that can boost household incomes and are essential for food security, such as those targeted by the new Economic Transformation Program. Issues of concern looking to the future include ongoing maintenance of capacity and infrastructure given government funding cuts, and the training and mentoring of junior staff needed to replace retiring senior staff over the coming decades.