by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
WHILE there has been a surge in food prices in several countries, Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) will continue to safeguard the price stability and rice supply in Malaysia amid the Covid-19 crisis.
“The pandemic has caused some countries to increase their staple food prices including rice, and it has raised some concerns that it could disrupt Malaysia’s supply.
“As mentioned by the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MoA) as well as other relevant ministries, Malaysia’s security and food supply is currently under control.
“The staple foods are still widely available and the prices have remained the same prior to the Covid-19 outbreak,” the country’s single rice importer said in a statement yesterday.
It added that Bernas is committed to ensuring rice prices will remain stable despite the rise in global food prices, and they will bear the additional costs of rice and operation to maintain its stability.
Bernas said it has also maintained the prices of local white rice and imported rice for the wholesale purchase.
Bernas was responding to a claim by the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) saying that rice millers and wholesalers are pressured by the price hike set by the rice importer.
It also refuted MTEM’s statement which claimed Bernas has been receiving subsidies and that the MoA is monopolising the rice import.
“To date, Bernas has been keeping to its responsibility in managing the rice industry development and its duty as rice importer.
“Bernas will continue to manage the subsidy payments to farmers, administer the Bumiputera paddy scheme, ensure paddy procurement from farmers at guaranteed prices and be responsible as the last buyer from farmers,” it said.
Bernas added that it will continue to cooperate with the MoA to ensure the viability of the rice industry.