Kedah The Rice Bowl Of Malaysia
While the Langkawi economy is centred around the tourist industry, mainland Kedah is traditionally more focused on an agricultural based economy, although in recent years there has been a successful pursuit of encouraging technology and manufacturing industries to Kulim and Sungai Petani.
The Kedah business approach is no different to many other states in Malaysia in that it encourages SME's to prosper and there are many enterprising individuals ambitiously achieving success through hard work and determination.
The Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority has reported a booming year for its 22 regional farmers markets spread throughout the state.
This targetted growth in sales will be supplemented by the opening of two new markets in Sik and Kuala Negang while a further proposed market in Bandar Baharu was still being considered. Long term planning is expected to yield one farmers market in every district of Kedah and it is also planned to increase the operational days for the more popular Kedah farmers markets.
Kedah is famously known as the 'rice bowl' of Malaysia because it is estimated the state meets nearly half the countrys' needs in annual rice production. The fertile plateau that covers much of Kedah is ideal farming land but it is not just rice that grows here as tobacco, sugar, palm oil and rubber are other commercially grown commodities in this agricultural economy.
The spark that signalled the growth in the Langkawi economy was the introduction of duty free status in 1986.
Since gaining Unesco Eco park status Langkawi has become an Eco destination of choice to the 'green' tourist sector and with the 99 islands that makes up Langkawi fuelling the interest of the yachting fraternity these islands are providing added stimulus to the Langkawi economy.
With help from the Northern Corridor Economic Regions (NCER) investment in Kedah business projects is expected to create many thousands of jobs up to 2020.
The Kedah state fisheries department in conjunction with N.C.E.R is a fine example of what can be achieved with their work with Progressive Ocean Sdn Bhd to develop aquaculture farming in Sungai Menghulu, Kedah.
This led the Langkawi business sector to develop both luxury and mid range resorts to cater for the growing number of interested tourists to this tropical paradise.
Kedah is experiencing a slightly reducing trend in population growth with the latest figures revealing a 1.2% rise. The states' GDP is also experiencing steady growth with the latest released figures showing a 4.4% rise.
Sales at these popular markets increased from RM37 million in 2009 to RM40 million in 2010 and the authorities are predicting further growth for 2011 with a target set at RM45 million.