Price hike for imported white rice leads to increased demand for local white rice

04 Sep 2023 09:28pm
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
KUALA LUMPUR - The rising price of imported white rice will benefit the country's rice and paddy industry as consumer demand for local white rice has increased.

Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM) Agricultural Industry Development Division secretary Datuk Azman Mahmood said Padiberas Nasional Bhd’s (Bernas) price adjustment had led to consumer being more inclined to buying local white rice, which is sold at a controlled price of about RM2.60 per kilogramme (kg) or RM26 per 10kg bag.

"When the price of imported white rice increases from RM33 to RM39, it will be a phenomenon and everyone will look for local rice.

"Until about 2021, there was no demand for local rice. Everyone looked for imported rice because there was not much difference in the prices. Now, (there is a difference) RM26 and RM39," he told Bernama when met at his Putrajaya office today.

On Sept 1, Bernas adjusted the sale price of imported white rice nationwide from RM2,350 a tonne to RM3,200 a tonne, in line with the latest price of imported white rice in the international market.

Azman further said that steps must be taken to increase local production of white rice to meet the needs of domestic consumers and reduce dependence on imported rice.

He said the self-sufficiency level (SSL) of the country's rice supply, which currently stands at 62 per cent, is of concern because the country's rice supply is vulnerable to supply disruptions.

"On average, Malaysians consume about 80kg of rice per year. But do not forget that we also have foreigners who consume 120kg of rice per person. Our rice consumption is about 200,000 tonnes per month.

"We have no choice, we have to do everything we can to increase domestic production," he said.
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According to Azman, the government has taken intervention measures to increase the supply of local white rice in the market by asking rice producers in the northern zone to increase their production by 20 per cent and supply it to the government through Bernas.

"If we achieve this 20 per cent, we will get about 423,000 tonnes per year. The estimate for this year is that we can produce 23 million of 10kg rice bags or 47 million of 5kg rice bags,” he said.

He added that this was only a temporary measure as solutions and reforms to increase the country's productivity in rice and paddy permanently are being carried out - BERNAMA