MAFS to meet with India government to discuss white rice export restrictionsNOR AZURA MD AMIN
JOHOR BAHRU - The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) will hold a meeting with the Indian government as soon as possible to find the best solution to the issue of white rice export restrictions.
Its Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said the request for the resumption of white rice exports from India to Malaysia would be discussed when he meets with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Singh Tomar, later.
"MAFS is currently in contact with the Indian government to obtain a date for the meeting and discussion on rice imports to be conducted as soon as possible," he told a press conference yesterday.
Mohamad said the sudden restriction on white rice exports from India had caused the prices of exported rice in Malaysia to rise.
"The country's rice supply is still sufficient, but if the price of imported rice is too high, it causes the public to seek local rice.
"This situation has led to a sudden increase in local rice demand and as a result, there is a slight shortage in some places," he said.
He added that the Young Farmers Advancement Authority (Mada) is currently harvesting rice, and 20 per cent of the yield will be processed to meet current supply needs.
"There are several rice-exporting countries including Pakistan, Vietnam, and Thailand. The issue of rice supply shortages is a global crisis that also affects many countries, but Malaysia can handle this rice shortage issue better than other countries," he said.
In July, India reportedly banned the export of non-basmati white rice in an effort to prevent rising domestic prices.
Heavy rains had affected crops in the country, and rice prices had risen more than 11 per cent in the past 12 months.
India, the world's largest rice exporter, also reportedly imposed a ban on the export of broken rice in an effort to control the domestic price of the commodity.
Currently, India accounts for about 40 per cent of global rice exports, exporting to more than 150 countries.