THE PERCENTAGE SHARE of the agriculture sector to Penang’s GDP dropped slightly from 2.7% in 2015 to 2.2% in 2019 (Figure 1). The sector recorded a positive growth rate of 4.9% in 2019, while contributing the same share as the previous year. The total cropland used in Penang increased by about 0.3% in 2019 compared to 2018, mainly due to an increase in cash crops land use. The majority of croplands are located in Seberang Perai Utara (56%) followed by Seberang Perai Tengah (20%), while only 1.3% are in Timur Laut (Table 1).
In 2019 the overall crops production in Penang decreased by 6.7% compared to 2018, owing to the decrease in herbs and spices (29%) and paddy production (11.5%) (Table 2). However, the production of cash crops saw a remarkable increase by 56.8% in 2019 as compared to 2018, in line with the increase in its planted areas. Although the land used for fruit cultivation in the state has not increased much, its production grew significantly by nearly 23.5% in 2019 compared to the previous year, suggesting that there has been an increase in yield (production per hectare).
A main focus of the state’s agriculture sector is on urban and community farming. About 417 urban farming projects have been recorded in Penang from 2015-2020; these are mostly on the mainland (268 projects) and nearly 7,000 urban farmers are involved (Table 3).
The Livestock Sub-sector
The total meat and milk production in Penang increased by an average of 7% and 11.3% per year respectively during 2015-2019, while egg production dropped by an average of 10.6% per year during the same period. For many years, the production of poultry meat and pork in Penang has been above local demand. These two areas make up roughly 95% of the state’s total meat production (Table 4). In 2019 the Self-sufficiency Level (SSL) of poultry meat and pork were recorded at about 141% and 265% respectively. Yet, the production of eggs, fresh milk, cow/buffalo meat, and goat/sheep meat were insufficient in meeting local demand (Figure 2).
The Fisheries Sub-sector
From 2015-2019 marine capture fisheries in Penang grew at an average annual growth rate of 1.4% and 3.4% in production and in value (Figure 3). The total landings in Penang dropped by nearly 6% in 2019, but its wholesale value increased by 2.2% as compared to 2018. This might be due to smaller catches of lower priced fish and larger catches of high-value fish.
The aquaculture industry is a major income earner for Penang’s fisheries sector. From 2015-2018, the state’s aquaculture production and wholesale value declined at an average rate of 11.2% and 15.8% respectively, this is possibly due to disease issues and the November 2017 floods. However, both its production and value increased by about 21.7% and 26.7% respectively in 2019 compared to 2018 (Figure 4). In the same year, Penang’s aquaculture sector recorded the third-highest production in the country after Sabah and Perak. But its production has the second-highest wholesale value after Perak.