KUCHING (Nov 21): Local traditional rice varieties are being sold to premium niche markets for over RM15 per kg, said Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail.
The Deputy Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development (Food Industry) said the state is well-known for various local traditional rice that possess a variety of shapes, aromas, colours, textures, and nutritional value such as Bario, Bajong, Biris, and Wai.
“For instance, the retail price of Bario Rice can reach up to RM28 per kg in the city of Kuching including logistics costs.
“Unlike local white rice such as MR269, the prices of local traditional rice in Sarawak are not governed by the Paddy and Rice Control Act of 1994. Instead, they fluctuate based on demand and supply.
“With the flexible pricing of local traditional rice, farmers can enjoy better incomes, ensuring sustainability in rice cultivation. This is crucial given the low rice yield in Sarawak, which accounts for less than 5 per cent of the nation’s total rice production, coupled with high rice production costs,” he said in his reply to Dayang Noorazah Awang Sohor (GPS-Lingga) during the question-and-answer session at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) here today.
He said to promote Sarawak’s traditional premium rice, the state’s Department of Agriculture (DoA) acts as a liaison between private companies and farmers.
“These rice types are also marketed through the Farmers’ e-Shop managed by the Sarawak State Farmers’ Organisation (PPNS), with the assistance of four Area Farmers’ Organisations (PPK) which are PPK Batang Lupar, PPK Kalaka, PPK Meradong, and PPK Daro,” he said.
He said the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos) is also marketing local traditional rice.
Dr Abdul Rahman added DoA is also striving to explore high-yielding rice varieties from foreign countries adaptable to local conditions to enhance rice production in Sarawak.