KUALA LUMPUR: A government backbencher has suggested that the ceiling price for local white rice be raised to incentivise padi farmers to grow more padi to overcome the current supply shortage.
Johari Ghani (BN-Titiwangsa) suggested that the government allow the ceiling price for rice to be raised to RM32 per 10kg from the current rate of RM26.
He said once padi farming becomes profitable for the farmers, big companies would then participate in the sector directly and help develop the sector further.
“If we don’t (do this), we will need to continue dealing with this issue,” said the former second finance minister in Dewan Rakyat, while debating the government’s briefing on the rice shortage issue.
He added that the current rice shortage affected 3.2 million B40 households nationwide.
Johari went on to speak about how Vietnam went from a rice importer to the world’s third-largest rice exporter after discovering the profitability of its rice-growing sector for both its farmers and its industries.
“I want the (agriculture and food security) ministry to look into how we can develop this rice industry because this is the only sector where we have the chance to become self-sufficient.
“We can’t (achieve self-sufficiency) with sugar, flour, corn and soybeans since we import them 100%.”
Last month, FMT reported Mydin hypermarket managing director Ameer Ali Mydin as urging the government to increase the ceiling price for local white rice to RM34 per 10kg to overcome a shortage in its supply.
He said local millers were being discouraged from producing the rice due to its current low ceiling price of RM26 per 10kg because of cost factors.
Meanwhile, agriculture and food security minister Mohamad Sabu, in his winding-up speech, welcomed Johari’s proposal and promised to bring it up to the finance ministry on whether the ceiling hike can be included in the 2024 budget to be announced on Friday.
Source : FMT