KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The Farmers Organisation Authority (LPP) director-general Datuk Azulita Salim today assured Malaysians that they do not have to rush to stock up at home as the country has sufficient local white rice to meet domestic demand.
She said the LPP is collaborating with the Farmers Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) to sell rice in 40 selected areas nationwide, Sinar Harian reported this afternoon.
“The problem arises when people start to panic and make large purchases resulting in a rice shortage,” she was quoted as saying in Kota Baru, Kelantan after officiating at the Agro Madani@Peladang Outlet Sale organised by the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry.
Azulita, whose agency comes under the same ministry, said the unpredictable weather has affected paddy yields and rice harvests but reiterated that Malaysians do not have to worry for now that their staple food supply will run out.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu had recently announced a local white rice intervention initiative involving 12 states in peninsular Malaysia.
He said 400 metric tonnes of local white rice will be distributed through 35 operation centres, 416 Fama retail outlets and 11 Fama Corporation marketing outlets.
Malaysia’s sole licensed importer Padiberas Nasional Bhd announced on September 1 that imported white rice now costs RM3,200 a tonne from RM2,350 a tonne, up by 36 per cent.
Malaysia is still importing white rice to supplement its local production as it is only 65 per cent self-sufficient, Datuk Mahfuz Omar told Utusan Malaysia in a separate news report published this morning,
Global prices have been rising after India, the world’s largest exporter of rice, announced on July 20 that it would stop selling non-basmati white rice to other countries with immediate effect to protect supply for its domestic market.