SERDANG: The Agriculture Census 2024 will assist the government in establishing a comprehensive agricultural data framework that covers economic, social, and environmental aspects within the agricultural ecosystem, says Datuk Seri Dr Fadillah Yusof.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that through the Agriculture Census 2024, the country will benefit from the development of an Integrated Agricultural Statistics Database that encompasses upstream and downstream agricultural data and integrates the census with administrative data from various government agencies down to the state and district levels.

“It will produce a new baseline, providing timely and reliable statistics for the planning of the national agricultural sector,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Agriculture Census 2024 here at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (Maeps) here on Thursday (July 4).

Also present at the event were Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Mohamad Sabu, Deputy Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Chan Foong Hin and Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin.

Others present included Agriculture and Food Security Ministry secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali and Economy Ministry secretary-general Datuk Nor Azmie Diron.

The Statistics Department has been given the mandate to lead the data collection of the Agriculture Census 2024.

The Agriculture Census 2024 is the fourth such census conducted in the country, with the previous one held in 2005

Fadillah also noted the agricultural sector has been the foundation of the country’s economy since achieving Independence.

“This sector had contributed 28.8% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1970.

“This percentage declined to 6.4% in 2023 due to the rapid growth of the industrial and service sectors compared to the agricultural sector.

“Although the contribution of the agricultural sector decreased, its added value increased to RM141.9bil in 2023 compared to RM16.2bil in 1987.

“This is in line with the increase in the country’s population from 16.8 million people in 1987 to some 34 million in 2024,” he said.

To ensure the well-being of farmers remains protected, the government had allocated RM6.17bil to the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry in the 2024 budget, he said.

“This allocation represents a 14.4% increase compared to the previous year, aimed at intensifying programs and assistance to make farmers more competitive,” noted Fadillah.

Fadillah, who is also the Energy Transition and Water Transformation Minister, said that observing the current developments, his ministry had proposed expanding the agricultural sector through the use of solar panels, given the significant number of solar farms being established.

A study conducted by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has shown promising results, he pointed out.

“Integrating agrivoltaic systems into our country’s framework, particularly within the National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR), offers significant benefits.

“By combining agriculture with photovoltaic energy generation, agrivoltaic systems efficiently use land to advance our renewable energy,” he said, adding that it supports the ministry’s objectives of diversifying the economy, inclusive growth, and technological advancement, revitalising rural economies with new income streams for farmers.

In a separate statement, according to the chief statistician’s office, to enhance the understanding and in communicating the implementation of the Agriculture Census 2024, a census portal has been established as a one-stop centre for agricultural statistics.

“It provides comprehensive and interactive content in the form of infographics and visualisations, allowing the public to access the latest information.

“As of July 1, 2024, the number of visitors to the census portal has reached 1.02 million,” it said.

It added that the success of the Agriculture Census 2024 requires the cooperation of all agricultural household entrepreneurs, institutions and organisations.

“All parties involved throughout the country are urged to give their full cooperation in the implementation of the Agriculture Census 2024, which will be conducted from July 7 to Oct 10, 2024.

“The census covers four (4) subsectors namely Crops, Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Forestry & Logging,” it said.

For more information about the Agriculture Census 2024, please visit DOSM’s portal at www.myagricensus.gov.my and the Agriculture Census 2024 Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bancipertanian2024/.