El Nino will force rice importsAs per sources, it has been reported that the Government of Malaysia is ready to import more rice if local grain production drops as a result of the persisting El Nino phenomenon.  According to the statement of  the Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Mr Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman  that  the Malaysia imported 30% of rice for the nation’s consumption while the other 70% came from local growers. In case, if production falls, we will increase the import to offset the drop in local supply. However, it will be a temporary measure, as it was informed. Further; in this matter Mr Tajuddin told that the hot weather would definitely affect pady production.

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In one of the statements, Mr Mardi, revealed that even a 2°C rise in temperature may lead to a 13% reduction in padi yield while drought or a 15% decrease in seasonal rainfall could lead to drop in yield up to 80%. Thus, any rise in temperature above 34°C was certain to affect yield. Extreme heat could also cause damage to the rice yield and grain quality besides bringing disease as it was added. Further, Mr Tajudin narrated that the Government was flexible in its import policy despite aiming to achieve full self-sufficiency by 2020. It was also informed that there is flexibility in our policies because we have to think of our food security too. It was clearly stated that we don’t want to see people having any of the problems because rice is our staple food. So, in case, if there is a need to import, then it will be imported certainly. As per our basic policy is concerned, it is clear that we want to protect our local rice producers from all angle.

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