A food value chain involves stakeholders who perform value-adding activities to produce food products.1 Table 1 shows the number of persons engaged and the amount of value created in the agriculture, and food and beverages (F&B) services sectors in Penang.
Penang’s agriculture and F&B services sectors created a total of RM4.2bil worth of value-added2 in 2017, registering a double-digit growth of 16.3% annually from 2010-2017. These sectors contributed a value-added of 5.5% to the state’s GDP in 2017, an increase of 2.7% from 2010.
While the F&B sector generated a higher value-added, the agriculture sector experienced a higher annual growth rate. Likewise, the number of persons engaged in the F&B sector was considerably larger compared to those in the agriculture sector, with an annual growth rate of 6.6%.
The agriculture sector consists of three sub-sectors: crops, livestock and fisheries. In 2017 livestock made up the largest sub-sector in terms of value-added, surpassing the crops and fisheries sub-sectors. It accounted for almost 60% of the total value-added, followed by crops (28%) and fisheries (13%) (Table 2).Meanwhile, the fisheries sub-sector experienced the largest growth rate despite being the smallest sub-sector. From 2010-2017, its value-added and number of workers, respectively, grew at 38% and 19% annually.
Similarly, Penang’s F&B sector has also consistently expanded from 2010 to 2017. In 2017 the sector contributed a value-added worth of RM3.13mil, and had more than 58,000 persons operating the services activity, growing at about 14% and 7% per annum respectively, as compared to 2010 (Table 1).
In addition, Penang’s F&B sector ranked fourth in terms of value-added in Malaysia, trailing behind Selangor, KL and Johor (Figure 1). Within the F&B sector, food services – which include restaurants, cafeterias, fast-food restaurants and food stalls – generated the largest value-added. This constituted about three-quarters of the total value-added created within the sector (Figure 2).
The agriculture sector is vital in providing sufficient food for local consumption. While contributions to the state’s GDP is small, the sector’s production of crops, livestock and fisheries have increased from 2010-2017, except for chicken and duck egg production (Table 3). Specifically, the livestock production of cows and buffaloes; goats and sheep; and pigs have all registered a growth rate of more than 10% annually over the past seven years.
On average, almost 30% of the total household expenditure (about RM1,217) was spent on food consumption in Penang in 2016. This expenditure constituted about 18% of their average monthly household income.3 As illustrated in Figure 3, a household in Penang spent an approximate average of 45% of total expenditure on food for eating out. This is slightly higher than the national share at 41.6%. Nevertheless, more than half of the households spent more on cooking at home, rather than eating at restaurants and cafes. The only two states with higher shares of eating out compared to cooking at home are Putrajaya (54.9%) and KL (54.8%).
There are a number of private colleges in Penang that offer Diploma courses related to culinary arts, or business and management in the F&B sector. These include Disted College, INTI International College Penang, SEGI College Penang, KDU University College Penang.4 However, the number of students enrolled in these courses is low, with not more than 2% of the total students from Penang’s private institutes of higher learning enrolled in F&B-related courses (Table 4). The number of enrolments hit the lowest in 2017.