140,000 tonnes of rice hit the market today

PETALING JAYA: Some 140,000 tonnes of local white rice (BPT) will be distributed throughout the country from today to overcome a market shortage.

Kawalselia Padi and Beras (KPB) will commence distribution today while also overseeing all available stock of padi and rice bought by factories, says its director-general Datuk Azman Mahmood.

Agro Madani sales by the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) and the National Farmers Organisation (LPP) will also be part of the distribution network.

“We will monitor distribution with weekly reports issued to monitor the local rice supply. We will have long-term strategies that include padi farmers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers.”

He said targeted subsidies would also be given, exclusively for the B40 group.

As for imported white rice (BPI), the price will be reduced by between RM2 and RM3 from today.

Currently, BPI is priced at between RM38 and RM45 for a 10kg pack. With this adjustment, a 10kg pack of imported white rice will now cost RM35.

Azman said there were no issues with monitoring the price of imported rice at the moment, as everything is regulated.

“We rely on the system; if wholesalers lower the price by RM2, the system adjusts accordingly. This system is implemented nationwide to ensure consistency. If any issues arise, actions will be taken,” he added.

Mydin hypermarket managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin said retailers have also begun adjusting prices accordingly.

“Some brands have reduced prices by RM2 after being told to do so by Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas). Some other brands are willing to go further and reduce the price by RM3.

“After reading the announcement on Tuesday night, we immediately changed the prices in our system.

“By this morning, we reduced all prices by RM2 to RM3. It doesn’t matter if it’s old stock or new stock (rice); all prices are reduced,” he said.

“The Ramadan period is a crucial season for consumers to buy goods, and my team has taken the initiative to reduce prices immediately. We are in talks with importers and suppliers as instructed by the government.

“We will also discuss with suppliers whether they will agree to bear some of the losses,” he added.

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu announced the price reduction on Tuesday, following which Bernas reduced the price from RM3,200 to RM3,000 per tonne at its warehouses.

“This translates to a decrease in retail prices of (BPI) by RM2 to RM3 per 10kg bag,” Bernas said.

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