Malaysia's Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman has said Malaysia is capable of producing 3.4 million tonnes of rice per year by 2020 at an average yield of 10 tonnes per ha, reported Bernama.

He said the projection was based on the current production of 1.7 million tonnes per year at an average yield of 5.4 tonnes per ha.

Although paddy land is limited, the production can be optimised through modern technology, and use of high quality seeds and irrigation method, he told reporters after opening the National Water Users Group Conference in Putrajaya on December 30.

He said the country's rice consumption of 2.6 million tonnes per year is partially compensated by imports.

Meanwhile, ministry's Division of Irrigation and Agricultural Drainage director Syed Abdul Hamid Syed Shuib said the Water Users Group was set up to smoothen water supply to paddy fields to facilitate double cropping.

The ministry hopes every farmer will join the Water Users Group to enable rice to be cultivated in a big way, he said.

Currently, local rice production can only meet 72 percent of the population’s need. The country has to import nearly 30 percent of the national rice demand from other countries, including Vietnam and Thailand .

According to the Vietnam General Customs Department, the country exported nearly 764,700 tonnes of rice to Malaysia in 2012, earning over 403 million USD.
In the first 11 months of this year, Vietnam shipped 453,240 tonnes of rice for 225.5 million USD to Malaysia and the figure is expected to reach 529,000 tonnes by year-end.-VNA