PUTRAJAYA, Aug 26 (Bernama) -- Improving market access for agricultureexports, particularly palm oil, is one of the key challenges that needs tobe addressed in the efforts to turn the agriculture sector as a source ofeconomic growth.
Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Datuk Latifah Merican Cheong,said raising incomes in all agriculture sectors would be also vital inincreasing domestic consumption and reducing exposure to external demand.
Latifah was presenting a paper titled, "Challenges of the PrimaryAgriculture Sector: A source of growth for regional economies" at MPOB'sInternational Palm Oil Congress 2003, here Tuesday.
"We feel that the role of major primary commodities is significantparticularly as a stabilising sector to reduce external vulnerability, toreduce exposure to external demand and to raise rural incomes for higherdomestic consumption," she said.
For consumption to increase and contribute to domestic sources of growth,she added that it was necessary to raise rural incomes with highestpotential being in palm oil, as a growing agriculture commodity.
However, she added that raising income should not be dependent on palm oilprices but rather on multi-skills of employees as well as highervalue-added in palm oil sector to benefit employees of the sector.
In terms of incentives, Latifah said they were now more balanced to favouragriculture where fiscal incentives were largely aimed at promotinginvestment.