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July 2024

‘Rice shortage expected to ease’

MORE than one million 10kg sacks of local white rice have been distributed nationwide, especially to rural areas, as part of the government’s efforts to ease shortages of the staple grain, said the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry.

Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said that as of Oct 16, 1,027,739 10kg rice sacks have been distributed to hypermarkets, wholesalers and through the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) and Farmer’s Organisation Authority (LPP).

“The shortage of local white rice is expected to ease in light of the latest harvest season in Kedah which is set to end in late October,” he said in a written reply yesterday to a question by Cha Kee Chin (PH-Rasah).

Cha also asked what caused the shortage of local rice and how the ministry is resolving the problem.In response, Mohamad said the shortage was a direct result of the price increase for imported white rice.

The increase announced by Padiberas Nasional berhad (Bernas) on Sept 1 caused a spike in the demand for local white rice.

“This is because the price of local white rice is controlled by the government at RM2.60 per kilogram, which is much cheaper than imported white rice with no price caps.

“A shift in consumer behaviour from imported white rice to local white rice eventually caused a shortage in the market,” he said.

Among the government’s remedial measures are to direct Fama and LPP to directly distribute local white rice to rural areas and to establish a special task force to oversee rice supply issues.

Long-term measures include upgrading irrigation infrastructure for padi fields and introducing the SMART Sawah programme to boost farm yields.

“The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry, through the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, is also working with higher learning institutions and research institutes to produce high quality rice crops that can withstanding extreme weather and be harvested in less than 75 days.” QR Code

Published Date: October 27, 2023

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