By ASILA JALIL/ pic by TMR GRAPHIC
The government has agreed to extend Padiberas Nasional Bhd’s (Bernas) concession as the single gatekeeper for rice imports for another ten years.
Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said in a Parliamentary written reply dated Nov 3,2020, the new concession has been improved and several new terms have been made.
The changes include an increase in the number of social obligations from five to ten which consists of an increase in the country’s rice stockpiles as the national food security.
“The extension is important in protecting the strategic commodity especially rice which is a staple food for Malaysians.
“Besides, the uncertainties in the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic also becomes a foundation in ensuring that food security in the country is continued to be given priority,” he said in the reply.
Bernas — through the SGM — was appointed as the guardian for the country’s rice management to prevent a food crisis and be the buffer in the event of it.
The local rice industry has been solely managed through the SGM for the past four decades to prevent excessive profiteering and ensure constant supplies.
The government extended Bernas’ concession in 2011 to manage the country’s rice supply for 10 years. The current concession will end in January next year.
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