Rice as a strategic commodity with security undertones is to be safeguarded at all times. As part of its privatization agreement with the Government, BERNAS is also responsible to manage and maintain National Rice Stockpile to ensure that the country has sufficient supply of rice at all times. We regard this role as more than an emergency or food security function. It is also a mechanism to stabilize supplies and prices of rice in the country.
Following the rice crisis of 2008, the Government has increased the national stockpile level from 92,000 metric tonnes to 292,000 metric tonnes at any one time. This move has increased public confidence on food security as well as placed us in a better position to stabilize the market.
BERNAS purchases paddy from farmers at 31 Kilang Beras BERNAS nationwide and 50 purchasing centers (Skim Pusat Belian) located at the premises of participating Bumiputra rice mills nationwide. The wide distribution of these procurement centers provide better services to farmers enabling them to sell their paddy without having to travel far.
Together with the millers under the Bumiputra Rice Millers Scheme, the groups purchase about 800,000 tonnes paddy annually from local farmers.
PADDY PRICE SUBSIDY MANAGEMENT
BERNAS is responsible for distributing paddy price subsidies to the farmers on behalf of the Government. This scheme is twofold in its objective. It is to enable the paddy to be priced accordingly as to ensure the farmers enjoy a consistently good price for their produce while at the same time shielding the consumers from any abrupt price increases.
The current rice import policy supports the nation's self-sufficiency policy in that the import volume depends on the production of local rice. To fully meet the rice requirement of the country, BERNAS imports about 30% to 40% of Malaysia's domestic rice demand annually. To protect the local rice farmers, BERNAS’ import volume merely covers the shortfalls of demand after ensuring the local rice production finds its way to the market. BERNAS also imports special rice varieties that cannot be produced locally like basmati and fragrant rice to cater to the various types of culinary tastes of our multi-racial society.
BUYER OF LAST RESORT AT GMP
As part of our social obligations to the nation, we ensure that the paddy Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) set by the Government is always enforced. As the buyer of last resort, BERNAS buys all paddy delivered, even if it is operating at full capacity. We will ensure that the welfare of our nation’s rice growers is always at heart.
With its network of rice mills and warehouses strategically located, BERNAS is well placed to effectively perform the role of main rice distributor in the country. Both local and imported rice procured by BERNAS are distributed to licensed wholesalers. Rice is also distributed to consumers and other end users through our subsidiary companies.
SUFFICIENT SUPPLY AT FAIR AND STABLE PRICE
As part of its privatization agreement with the Government, BERNAS must also ensure the maintenance of the sufficient supply of rice at reasonably fair and stable prices. BERNAS does this by maintaining rice stockpile and acting as a buyer of last resort of paddy at the guaranteed minimum price.
At BERNAS, we also ensure an equitable market. For example, when world prices soar, local prices are still stable. Also, to protect farmers, we only import rice to make up for deficits in local supply.
There are more than 400 commercial rice mills in the country, out of which 31 are owned and operated by BERNAS. BERNAS rice mills are located mainly in the major granary areas of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Seberang Perak and Kuala Selangor.
BERNAS mills around 400,000 metric tonnes paddy annually which gives a total rice output of 270,000 metric tonnes of the total rice produced by all mills in the country. This makes BERNAS the largest rice miller in Malaysia and a major marketing outlet for the farmers’ produce.
MAINTENANCE OF QUALITY & STANDARD OF RICE
BERNAS has long been a strong proponent of Research and Development in meeting its medium and long term goals for superior paddy and rice quality, yield improvement and technological advancements in processing and distribution. BERNAS current and future initiatives (developmental role) include, among others:
1) R&D Initiatives with UPM and MARDI.
2) Social economic with UUM – survey on livelihood of the farmers.
3) Establishing a rice food laboratory.
4) Playing a leading role in certified paddy seed production.