Food security issue brought to the table

Izah Azahari

The COVID-19 pandemic witnessed panic buying for number of basic necessities, including rice, which prompted the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) to think about how to import more rice for the country’s stock and how long it can be stored in the National Store warehouse.

In response to a question by Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Haji Ramli bin Haji Lahit on how long the rice stock can be stored, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah said, “It can be stored up to six, eight or 10 months, provided that the environment is appropriate.

“That’s a step for us to improve the way we store rice. We have moved the rice stock to a new warehouse with a better environment.

Regarding rice supply from Cambodia and Thailand, the minister said, “There were problems during COVID-19, especially in Cambodia, as they were facing drought and had to restrict the exports of normal white rice from their country, but the fragrant rice which Brunei imports was still able to be shipped.”

He added, “We also diversify our rice sources and do not rely on the supply from only one state.

“With the government’s efforts in the country to increase our rice production, hopefully we will no longer be too dependent on foreign countries.”