03 February, 2008

Keeping padi farmers and consumers happy




RICE farmers in Selangor are unhappy about restrictions that prevent them from selling some of their harvest for between RM30 and RM70 per tonne more outside the state.

Millers complain that they cannot compete with Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), which offers higher prices for padi to farmers and hires middlemen who charge the millers a commission.




Rice wholesalers report their net profits have plummeted by more than 50 per cent over the past 10 years. And economists claim controls and subsidies have raised costs and made Malaysia the odd man out among its neighbours who are gearing up for the full liberalisation of the rice trade by 2010 under the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta).





The country's rice industry policy has always been to balance the interest of key players in the supply chain with the national interest, says Dr Larry Wong, a senior fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis) who handled international business for Bernas from 1996 to 2004....the rest of the story here.

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