Enough White Rice No Need To Use Govt Stockpile Says Bernas


Bernas says the increased demand for local white rice was caused by the price difference between local and imported rice.PETALING JAYA: Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) has assured consumers that it has sufficient supply of white rice following shortage concerns.
Bernas, which has a monopoly to import rice, said it has distributed 630,000 metric tonnes of white rice from January to August, a 38% increase compared to the average monthly sales over the past five years.
“This means that the supply of white rice is more than sufficient without the government having to use its stockpile,” it said in a statement today.
Bernas noted that as it is the “buyer of last resort”, its average local rice market share is only around 10%, with the remaining bought and processed by private factories.
The company also said the increasing demand for local white rice is due to a shift in demand by consumers, contract providers and other food industry players, caused by the price difference between local rice and imported rice.
It said it remains committed to supporting all intervention programmes carried out by the agriculture and food security ministry to ensure sufficient supply of local rice.
On Sept 1, Bernas announced an increase in the price of imported white rice from RM2,350 to RM3,200 per tonne.
It said factors such as climate change, weakening foreign exchange rates, high operational costs, and regional conflicts had impacted the global rice trading market, which was further compounded by India banning the export of white rice in July.
The resulting reports about a rice shortage in supermarkets have seen the government warning the public against panic buying and assuring them that it has sufficient stock of local white rice.
On Tuesday, agriculture and food security minister Mohamad Sabu said the government will need a “strong reason” if it is to end Bernas’s monopoly on rice imports as it is bound by a 10-year agreement which runs from Jan 11, 2021 to Jan 10, 2031. - FMT


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