The demand for local white rice in Kelantan has increased almost 50% following the increase in price of imported rice since last week.
Kelantan State Farmers Organisation board chairman Aimi Jusoh said the spike in demand was also driven by panic buying and the rice's chemical-free quality.
"For the past 20 years, the demand for local rice had been consistent at the same level every year, but the surge in demand occurred by almost 50% since the price of imported rice went up.
"Previously, the people of Kelantan preferred imported rice from Thailand because it was easily available at the Kelantan border," he told a press conference on the issue of local white rice at the Kangkong Farmers’ Organisation Area (PPK) in Pasir Mas yesterday, which was also attended by Kelantan Padi and Rice Regulation director Mohamed Fadhli Abdul Azid.
Aimi said the local white rice was also sold at below the government-controlled price, at RM13 for 5kg and RM25.50 for 10kg.
"There are 34 PPK areas throughout Kelantan with 2,400 hectares of padi fields which are able to supply 90,000 tonnes of rice per season, so we are confident that the demand can be met without any problems," he said.
Meanwhile, Fadhli said the supply of local white rice was believed to be sufficient to meet the demand throughout the monsoon season as the second rice season for 2023 would be harvested at the end of the month.
"Five local white rice supply and distribution companies have been appointed including Kangkong PPK, to ensure sufficient supply of 200 tonnes of rice per month, thus solving the issue of lack of carbohydrate resources in the state," he said.