KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 700 tonnes of local white rice will be distributed for sale throughout the peninsula beginning Friday as an early intervention measure following reports of shortage.
The special programme for the distribution and sale of the local white rice directly to consumers will be held at premises under the Farmers Organization Authority (FOA) and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) in four zones, namely the north, central, south and east.
FOA deputy director-general (development) Amir Mat Amin said the rice would be sold at RM26 for a 10kg bag.
“The total distribution under FOA up to the end of this year is 300 tonnes while Fama’s total distribution is 400 tonnes, bringing the total amount to 700 tonnes,” he told Bernama today.
“We are limiting the purchase to only two 10kg bags for each consumer.”
Meanwhile, Azman Mahmood, the director-general of the agriculture and food security ministry’s padi and rice regulatory division, said the shortage of local rice in the country was due to the increase in the price of imported rice.
The price hike resulted in a surge in demand for local rice.
Azman said the purchase of large quantities by traders also contributed to the current shortage of local white rice.
“We have met traders’ associations and restaurant operators and offered them to buy imported white rice at wholesale price, so they don’t have to use local rice and compete with grocery stores,” he said when contacted today.
Azman said the current problem in the supply of local white rice is only temporary, adding that he believed the situation would return to normal soon with the padi harvesting season in Kedah having started. This will be followed by the harvesting season in Kelantan and Terengganu.
Agriculture and food security minister Mohamad Sabu was today reported as saying that the supply of local white rice in the market is expected to be stable in a month following various intervention measures and continuous monitoring carried out by the government.