Rice millers, wholesalers and retailers have committed to implementing the Local White Rice Special Programme (PKBPT) throughout the country to ensure the stability of local white rice supply in the market, the agriculture and food security ministry says.
In a statement, it said the matter was agreed on at an engagement session between the ministry and national rice industry players in Putrajaya which discussed in detail the local white rice supply and the increase in price of imported white rice.
PKBPT is being implemented in two phases starting on Sept 8 and 15, where millers increase local white rice production by 20% for the domestic market for a period of one year.
"This intervention is aimed at ensuring that the local white rice supply can meet the needs of consumers and guarantee the stability of its supply in the market," the ministry said following the engagement session chaired by its secretary-general, Lokman Hakim Ali.
The engagement session was also attended by representatives from the domestic trade and cost of living ministry, the Federal Agricultural Marketing Board (Fama), the Farmers Organisation Authority (LPP), Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), as well as five major rice wholesalers and 11 hypermarkets.
Through the PKBPT, the agriculture ministry said Fama and LPP were also involved in the distribution of local white rice to target groups, especially in areas that do not have supermarkets.
It said it would monitor and enforce the programme through the Padi and Rice Control Authority.
The ministry had held engagement sessions with supermarkets on July 20 as well as rice millers and rice wholesalers on Aug 28, and the Budget 2024 Dialogue Session for the national padi and rice subsectors on Sept 7.
The lack of rice supply in the country and the increase in the price of imported rice was raised by MPs on the second day of the debate on the Mid-Term Review of the 12th Malaysia Plan in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Wee Jeck Seng (BN-Tanjung Piai) urged the government to take immediate action to cover the 38% shortfall in rice supply for local consumption.