3:28pm 08/06/2023
More rice import to ensure no supply disruption, says deputy minister

KUALA LUMPUR: An additional 150,000 tons of rice will be imported by Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) to ensure stable supply.

Replying to a question from Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong at Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Chan Foong Hin said Bernas had agreed to increase rice imports.

Khoo wanted to know the measures taken by the government to ensure adequate supply of rice after Sin Chew Daily featured an exclusive report on looming rice shortage over the next few months.

Quoting the president of the Malaysia Rice Grain Wholesalers Association Tan Swee Huat, Sin Chew Daily reported that rice supply may encounter shortage in the coming months due to poor harvest and insufficient import of rice.

“Based on the records of Bernas, market demand now has exceeded that for last year. After a negotiation held last week, Bernas has agreed to increase import by 150,000 tons to prevent disruption of supply,” said Chan.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Chan Foong Hin (L); Sin Chew Daily front page on the looming shortage of rice supply.

The negotiation was led by Datuk Azman Mahmood, director-general of the ministry’s padi industry development division, to explore the supply of rice in the market with Bernas and the Malaysian Rice Grain Wholesalers Association.

“Bernas has agreed to import additional 150,000 tons of rice in May after noticing an increase in order by wholesalers in the first four months of the year,” he said.

In a statement, Bernas said rice wholesalers sold an average of 16,000 tons a month up to May, a sharp increase from last year’s 6,700 tons.

For rice import, Bernas sold 55,000 tons monthly for the past five years.

The average monthly sales increased to 71,000 tons this year, an increase of 29%.

“Bernas will continue to work with the government to ensure stable supply of rice,” it said.




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