M'sia to unveil 2 programmes in June to up food supply
Thu, May 15, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA will announce two programmes next month to increase food supplies to maintain reasonable and stable prices, Agriculture Minister Mustapa Mohamed said on Thursday.

Like its Asian neighbours, Malaysia is battling inflation and food security concerns amid worries that the prospect of rising prices could prompt hoarding and social unrest.

'To maintain reasonable and stable prices, I will be announcing in June, two programmes to ensure food supply in the country,' Mr Mustapa told a conference, without elaborating.

Malaysia this week bought 200,000 tonnes of Thai rice and is in talks to secure another 300,000 tonnes, a Thai official said on Tuesday, amid a global rush to lock in supplies for the dwindling food staple.

Food prices pose a risk to a government already struggling to bolster its flagging popularity, and could push the economy into an environment of rising prices and slowing growth.

The government said this week it expected to spend at least RM725 million (S$306 million) to subsidise 500,000 tonnes of imported rice and maintain affordable retail prices of the grain. -- REUTERS


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