KUALA LUMPUR: Titiwangsa member of Parliament Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said Malaysia should replicate the success story of Vietnam in becoming the third largest rice exporter in the world as a formula to solve local rice shortage issue here.
The former finance minister II told Dewan Rakyat this recently when debating the 2024 Budget, that when Vietnam was facing rice supply crisis, the government had acted quickly to rectify the problem.
He said the Vietnamese government had carried out specialization efforts to increase the rice output with the involvement of large companies to manage the padi fields and at the same time maintained the field status to be owned by the farmers.
“They (companies) managed and benefitted from the assistance, infrastructures, technology and became the third largest exporter in the world.
“We need to do the specialization efforts here, the large GLC (government linked companies) should engage with our farmers to improve our output using technology and others.
“I know we can, we are just short of 37 per cent (to be self sufficient),” he said.
This has resulted in Malaysians having to buy imported rice sold at higher price compared to the local rice packets of RM26 per 10kg.
Johari said that Malaysia has all the necessary recipes to become a self-sufficient nation for white rice.
At the moment, the country only produces 1.6 million metric tonne per year but needed 2.5 million metric tonne of white rice for local consumption.
The rice was produced from around 700,000 hectares of padi fields throughout the country.
“In Indonesia, they are able to produce the lowest at six metric tonne per hectare, more rice for the same land area.
“If we can improve the production up to seven metric tonne, then we can become self-sufficient,” he added.
Previously, Johari proposed that the government removed the price cap for local rice where currently it was being sold at RM2.60 per kg.
He reiterated that the rice mills were reluctant to process and pack the rice as the factories were unable to make healthy profit from local rice at the controlled price.
Source : NST