Enough rice stock for our needs, says minister

The agriculture minister says Malaysia needs 200,000 metric tonnes of rice every month.

KUALA LUMPUR: Agriculture minister Ronald Kiandee has denied reports that Malaysia’s rice stockpile can only last for 2-1/2 months.

He said the current stock, taking into account local production and imports, was stable, regulated and consistent to meet domestic demand on a continuous basis.

Kiandee said the current stock of local rice at factories, wholesalers and retail outlets stood at 523,000 tonnes. The figure did not take into account the stock of local rice production and imported rice which is in the country.

His comments came in the wake of reports yesterday that Vietnam would stop exports of rice to protect domestic supply as part of measures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kiandee said Malaysia’s rice imports had not been affected and are going on as usual. Apart from Vietnam, rice is also imported from other producing countries such as Thailand, Pakistan, Myanmar, India, Cambodia and others.

He said the national rice importer and miller, Padiberas Nasional Berhad, had also been directed to ensure and enhance the supply of imported rice in the country.

Only 30% of total domestic demand depended on imports.

He said the ministry would also continue to ensure that the rice supply is sufficient to meet the country’s needs of 200,000 metric tonnes per month.