Covid-19, Kuala Lumpur: 'Rice reserves for two and a half months'

Vietnam has suspended cereal exports to protect domestic consumption. Malaysia is the 22nd largest consumer in the world. Imports cover between 30% and 40% of domestic need. Kuala Lumpur has stockpiles of 59 million chickens, 800 million eggs, enough meat and fish.

Kuala Lumpur (AsieNews / Agencies) - Malaysia only has enough rice reserves to last for two and a half months, reported the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry reported yesterday.

Two days ago Vietnam suspended exports of the cereal to protect the consumption of its population during the coronavirus epidemic. Vietnam, the world's third largest rice exporter, announced that it would not sign new export contracts until March 28 to ensure sufficient domestic supplies. The measure raised concerns about global food security. Kuala Lumpur, however, wanted to reassure analysts and citizens, clarifying that they have enough stocks.

Malaysia is the 22nd largest rice consumer in the world. The country grows cereals but imports between 30 and 40% of the needs to feed its population of 32.6 million. At the moment, the country can count on 500 thousand tons of rice with an average monthly consumption of 200 thousand tons.

"Bernas [the national rice agency, ed.] acted early to secure rice export contracts until May 2020 from Vietnam even though it was at a high price," the ministry said, referring to the national rice agency. "Our next step is to also purchase rice from other countries including Pakistan, India, Myanmar and Thailand,” it said. 

The ministry of Agriculture and the food industry has also announced the extent of other food stocks. The data are updated to March 25th. The state provided for the storage of 59 million chickens. The country consumes 43 million a month; therefore, he has supplies for just over a month.

There are 800 million eggsstockpiled, 180 more than the monthly requirement of 620. Both meat (25 thousand tons) and fish (150 thousand tons) stockpiles are sufficient to meet current needs. The government has not disclosed quantities related to vegetables, fruit and fresh milk; but consumption is estimated at around 235,680 tons, 128,280 tons and 5.1 million liters per month respectively.