Malaysia to help consumers identify real and fake grains

KUALA LUMPUR - The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry will help consumers identify real and fake grains although it has not received reports on fake rice despite the buzz on social media.

Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said his ministry would also assist the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry on the technical side of identifying rice.

"We will do our part. For example, we can give consumers pointers on how to differentiate between fake and real rice," he said after a young agropreneurs meeting yesterday.

Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek told The Star recently that his ministry would carry out a nationwide investigation into the matter.

Allegations of the existence of plastic-based fake rice are making their rounds over social media, with the latest rumour saying that it has entered Singapore, although a more thorough check revealed this allegation to be at least five years old.

On agropreneurs, Ismail Sabri also said that his ministry has helped 384 young agriculture entrepreneurs through its Young Agropreneur programme to obtain financing worth RM21.4 million (S$7.93 million) via Agrobank loans and Government grants.

"We want this programme to be pushed more aggressively as we have identified several common problems faced by young entrepreneurs," said Ismail Sabri, who pointed out that these included a lack of knowledge regarding the agriculture business as well as financing options that are available.

He said the young agropreneur roadshow, which is designed to address these issues, would start on May 27 in Kedah.

"We will provide entrepreneurs with detailed information and a checklist on how to obtain loans from Agrobank," he added.