The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM) is confident that white rice production in the country will recover within a month through the Special Local White Rice Programme.
Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said several intervention steps have been taken through the programme, including directing rice millers to increase production by 20 per cent as a short-term measure.
He said a number of engagement sessions with padi industry stakeholders will be held on Thursday to discuss methods and mechanisms for the recovery of rice production.
“Through these engagement sessions, KPKM will clarify the methods and mechanisms with regard to the supply of local rice in the country, covering medium- to long-term solutions,” he said when asked to comment on the ministry's strategy to recover national production of local white rice.
He was speaking at a press conference after surveying the supply of local white rice at Giant supermarket in Tampoi here today.
Mohamad said the ministry’s earlier initiatives, such as the Mini Sekinchan Smart Big Scale Padi Field project, are expected to help in the recovery of local rice production.
He said this is because the project can produce a massive harvest of 11 tonnes of padi per hectare.
He said so far the supply of local white rice is sufficient and has been maintained at the controlled price of RM2.60 per kilogramme since 2008, which shows that the ministry’s efforts to restore rice production are in line with increased demand, following the hike in the price of imported rice.
Queried if it was true that 95 per cent of the national rice production was controlled by middlemen, he said it was not true and that it was a mere allegation.
Mohamad repeated that KPKM and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living are always working together to combat the issue of switching labels on rice packaging to manipulate market prices, which was previously reported.
“This issue is being dealt with. The national rice regulatory body is constantly monitoring the situation and taking action. Insya-Allah, it is under control now and enforcement is according to the existing law,” he said.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency