Mat Sabu: Rice stock can last 5 months

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There is sufficient rice supply to cover the country’s domestic needs for the next four to five months, said Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu.

He said this was based on the rice stock recorded until Oct 3, which was 820,482 tonnes, comprising 250,000 tonnes of government stockpile and 570,482 tonnes of commercial stock.

According to him, as of Oct 7, a total of 708,978 10kg sacks of local white rice (BPT) were distributed throughout the peninsula through retail chains such as supermarkets, the Federal Agricultural Marketing Board (Fama), and the Board of Farmers’ Organisations (LPP)’s chain of outlets.

The breakdown is as follows: supermarkets (60 percent – 423,816 sacks), Fama (16 percent – 109,829 sacks), LPP (nine percent – 60,240 sacks), and 103 retail distribution wholesalers (16.2 percent – 115,093 sacks).

“This illustrates that Fama and LPP are only given a role during the intervention period while supermarkets, wholesalers, and retailers continue to market BPT,” he said at the minister’s reply session on the BPT issue at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Mohamad said the sudden increase in the price of imported white rice (BPI) in the world market occurred because India, which contributed more than 40 percent of the world’s rice exports last year, imposed an export ban from July 2023.

He said that up to now, 19 countries have restricted exports to give priority to their own citizens.

“At the moment, the international rice market price is also rising due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and the impact of El Nino weather on global rice production.

Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia

“Global white rice price recorded an increase of 63 percent within a year, from US$400 per tonne in August 2022 to US$650 per tonne in August 2023. This upward trend is expected to continue until the end of 2023,” he said.

Following that, he said Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) announced an adjustment in the selling price of BPI at Bernas warehouses across the country from RM2,350 to RM3,200 per tonne with effect from Sept 1, in line with the latest price of BPI in the international market.

He said if the BPI price increase continues without a sale price adjustment, Bernas will incur a loss in the financial year ending Dec 31, 2023, and will be unable to share 30 percent of its net profit from imports with paddy farmers, thus bringing negative implications to the government.