photo: Fauzan Saari
We’re not kidding. Based on the average annual consumption of rice per Malaysian at 80 kilograms and the fact that we need to import 30% of our annual requirement of 2.7 million tonnes, it means that 8.8 million people are served by our imports.
Malaysia imports rice from India, Thailand and Vietnam, the biggest producers of rice in the world. In November last year, Vietnam pulled the plug on exports to provide food security for their people.
Our question is are we waiting for a crisis to happen before we start making serious efforts to become self-sufficient in rice? Remember that rice is a staple food consumed daily by most Malaysians.
In 2019 our rice imports cost us RM1.87 billion. Imagine if this money is saved and re-channeled to our rice producers in terms of technical support and financial incentives how much good would it do?
It’s time to act.