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Agriculture in the Malaysian Region

R.D. Hill

Publication Year: 2013

Agriculture in the Malaysian Region was originally published in Hungary as a contribution to a series of books under the title "Geography of World Agriculture". Covering Malaysia together with Singapore and Brunei it presented a detailed account of agriculture at that time from economic, social and technical standpoints. An innovation was an analysis of the region's agroecosystems. The major types of agriculture covered were shifting cultivation, wet rice production, smallholder tree-crop and mixed forms of cultivation, the plantation systems and finally intensive market-gardening and livestock production. In this edition, a complete revision of the original text has been made while retaining the original framework of analysis. An extended chapter bringing the subject up to date has been added. This sets major changes in agriculture against the backdrop of significant structural change in the region's economies as a whole. Singapore has seen a shift from highly labour intensive production to very capital intensive and specialized forms of production. In Malaysia capital intensity has also increased except in rubber production. Increasingly, agriculture faces the problem of increasing labour costs. The book concludes with an attempt at identifying the likely changes in the agricultural sector in the medium term.

Published by: NUS Press Pte Ltd

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4


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pp. v-vi

List of Tables

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pp. vii-x

List of Figures

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

Though the writing of this monograph has been done largely from published materials, a great deal of the information has been derived from field research, both formal and informal, extending over more than 15 years. So many are my informants that I hope they will accept my thanks in general rather than in particular. ...

Preliminary Note

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pp. xv-xvi

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pp. xvii-xx

Malaysia may be grouped with the island republic of Singapore and the Brunei sultanate partly because of a common experience of British colonialism and also because their economies are inextricably interlocked. Although neither Singapore nor Brunei is important agriculturally, their peoples are equally diverse culturally and so are their forms of agriculture. ...

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Introduction to the Second Edition

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pp. xxi-xxii

One of the major approaches to the writing of historical geography is that of a cross-section through time. This is what the original text has become. It has been substantially recast to make it clear to which time-period it refers, namely the late 1970s. ...

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Chapter 1. Historical Background

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pp. 1-6

Malaysia in the 1970s was, above all, an excellent example of a postcolonial dependent economy. While the proportion of agricultural land owned by foreign interests had steadily fallen since independence in 1957, the export economy still relied significantly upon the export of relatively little-processed raw materials of agricultural origin. ...

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Chapter 2. A Statistical Overview (1970s) with Commentary

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pp. 6-22

In the 1970s, agriculture in Malaysia contributed less to the Gross Domestic Product and to direct employment than in most other countries of Southeast Asia, as it does in the 2010s. This reflected the relatively high average annual income, about MR1,927 per person in 19751 and a comparatively high level of economic development. ...

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Chapter 3. Land Use and Environment

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pp. 23-28

The perception of environmental limitations to agriculture has varied from time to time and from cultural group to cultural group. Thus, the shifting cultivator prefers well-drained land where the felled trees will readily dry out and give a good burn and regions where clear running water is available. ...

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Chapter 4. Areal Distribution of Crops

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pp. 29-51

Despite the various limitations to cultivation discussed in the previous section, the existence of large tracts environmentally suited to the major crops people wished to grow has meant that the availability of land at particular times and places has been the major influence upon the distribution of crops. ...

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Chapter 5. Typology of Agriculture

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pp. 52-60

Most writers on the agriculture of the Malaysian region have adopted one of two basic approaches (and sometimes both) in organizing material. One approach is to employ a simple two-sector model of the economy, distinguishing between a peasant, sometimes mistakenly termed subsistence sector on the one hand, and a commercial sometimes, more narrowly, a plantation sector on the other. ...

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Chapter 6. Shifting Cultivation

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pp. 61-84

The model of shifting agriculture discussed earlier is represented by that practised amongst aboriginal groups for whom shifting cultivation is an integral part of their culture and their lives. This integration and interdependence of economics, social organization and ritual in religion is aptly put by the Iban phrase “adat kami bumai”, which E. Jensen (1974: 5) ...

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Chapter 7. Semi-commercial (Peasant) Rice-growing

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pp. 85-133

The concepts “tribal” and “peasant” both subsume the sorts of societal groups which engage in agriculture basically because the family (and the tribe or village community) must provide a substantial proportion of its basic needs for food and shelter directly from its own resources. The fundamental objective of the practice of agriculture and related subsidiary activities ...

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Chapter 8. Perennial Crop Small-holder Agriculture

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pp. 134-180

It is a matter of little difficulty to determine what a perennial crop is in the Malaysian context, since in the 1970s the most important perennial crop was rubber to the extent that Jackson (1964) has suggested that this form of agriculture was almost monocultural, which indeed it usually is on larger farms and plantations. ...

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Chapter 9. Plantation Agriculture

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pp. 181-210

In tropical regions generally, the plantation is the epitome of capitalism in agriculture to the extent that P.P. Courtenay (1965) has suggested that a plantation bears more resemblance to a factory than to a farm. The plantation in the Malaysian region is no exception, though the exploitative elements which may have existed in the early days have long since disappeared ...

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Chapter 10. Intensive Market-gardening and Livestock-rearing

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pp. 211-225

If the cultivation of oil palm represents the least intensive form of permanent agriculture in the region, the growing of vegetables and the raising of livestock, mainly pigs and poultry, represents the most intensive type. On a number of farms, the growing of table fruits — durian, rambutan, star fruit (carambola), papaya, citrus and many others ...

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Chapter 11. Agriculture in the Malaysian Region from the Late 1970s

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pp. 226-255

Agriculture in the Malaysian region should be seen in relation to a striking broader transformation economy in which it is embedded. Singapore saw a major move from the entrepot economy that had characterized it from its foundation in the early nineteenth century to become a regionally-significant manufacturer. ...

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Chapter 12. Crops and Systems Revisited

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pp. 256-318

Although the details may have changed somewhat, the broad characteristics of the systems described earlier in the book remain. Shifting cultivators still grow their own food as do rice farmers. Shifting cultivators also gather jungle produce such as rattans and gums to provide a cash income. ...

Bibliography and Further References

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pp. 319-336


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pp. 337-348

E-ISBN-13: 9789971696191
Print-ISBN-13: 9789971696016

Page Count: 300
Illustrations: 35 maps
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Second Edition