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Malaysians Urged to Avoid Panic-Buying Local Rice as Import Prices Surge

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Malaysia Urges Public to Avoid Panic-Buying Local Rice as Imported Rice Prices Soar

The Malaysian government has assured the public that there is an ample supply of rice in the market and has urged citizens not to hoard locally produced rice. Recent panic-buying has caused empty shelves in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country. The price hike in imported rice has led to a shift in consumer preferences towards cheaper local rice. Malaysia, like many other countries, is facing rising rice prices and low supplies due to India's restrictions on rice exports. Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu emphasized that Malaysia's locally produced rice is the most affordable in the region, priced at 2.60 ringgit ($0.55) per kilogram (2.2 pounds). The government is taking steps to address the supply issue by increasing distribution to rural areas and subsidizing the price of imported rice in poorer states on Borneo island. Authorities will also enhance surveillance of rice wholesalers and shops to prevent hoarding and ensure fair practices. Minister Mohamad stressed the importance of remaining calm and purchasing only what is needed, urging the public not to engage in panic-buying. He warned against any attempts to misrepresent local rice as imported or mix grains for higher profits, emphasizing that strict action will be taken against offenders. The upcoming meeting of Southeast Asian agriculture and forestry ministers will address the rice crisis and food security, providing an opportunity for regional collaboration on these pressing issues.

Impact of Rising Imported Rice Prices on New Businesses in Malaysia

The recent surge in imported rice prices in Malaysia has led to an unexpected shift in consumer behavior, with panic-buying causing a shortage of local rice in supermarkets and grocery stores. This situation presents both challenges and opportunities for new businesses in the country. On one hand, the rising prices and low supplies due to India's export restrictions could potentially disrupt operations for businesses reliant on imported rice. However, the shift in consumer preferences towards cheaper, locally produced rice could open up new avenues for entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu's emphasis on the affordability of locally produced rice, coupled with the government's efforts to increase distribution and prevent hoarding, could incentivize new businesses to invest in local rice production. Additionally, the government's commitment to ensuring fair practices in the market could provide a more level playing field for startups. However, businesses must heed Minister Mohamad's warning against misrepresenting local rice as imported or mixing grains for higher profits. Strict penalties for such practices could pose significant risks for new businesses. The upcoming meeting of Southeast Asian agriculture and forestry ministers will likely further shape the business landscape, as regional collaboration on the rice crisis and food security could lead to new policies and initiatives.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/malaysians-urged-not-to-panic-buy-local-rice-after-import-prices-for-the-staple-rise-substantially
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