Malaysia Plans to End Rice Imports by 2020

Malaysia is likely to increase domestic rice production sufficiently to help end rice imports by 2020, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister told local sources. The Minister said that the government plan to increase local production includes improving rice quality, use of hybrid paddy seeds and good agriculture practices by farmers. He added that the government is encouraging farmers to produce rice in large-scale and is trying to provide finances to the farmers. The Minister also said that the government may soon increase paddy purchase price to about RM1,200 (around $365) per ton which will encourage farmers to grow quality rice. The minister said the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) will continue its research to produce quality seeds, such as aerobic paddy seeds, which require less water and can be planted three times a year. Currently, Malaysia produces around 70% of rice required for domestic consumption and imports the remaining quantity, mostly from Vietnam. According to the USDA, Malaysia’s rice production in MY 2013-14 is expected to reach around 1.8 million tons, against a demand for about 2.8 million tons. Malaysia is likely to imports around 1.1 million tons of rice in 2013-14, the USDA says. Malaysia imported about 658,120 tons of rice in 2013 from Vietnam, down about 14% from 764,692 tons in 2012, according to the Minister. The Minister said Malaysia stopped importing rice from Thailand mainly due to high prices. Malaysia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Vietnam to increase rice imports from Vietnam and boost bilateral trade to $11 billion by 2015, up from the current $9 billion.