Malaysia has imported nearly 30 percent of the national rice requirements, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Hashim Abdulla announced on November 26.

The country, however, is heading for zero rice imports by implementing several measures to ensure self-sufficiency, he added.

Currently, local price production can only meet 72 percent of the population’s need, as such, the government is extending rice cultivation area in Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak states as part of its efforts to reduce imports from neighbouring countries.

In addition, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute is constantly conducting research on new paddy seedlings to encourage farmers to grow the rice and find new ways for cultivation without using much water.

Malaysia is one of the countries depending largely on rice imports in the world.

The country expects to import 1.1 million tonnes of rice this year, a year-on-year rise of 5 percent.

Vietnam is among the leading rice suppliers for Malaysia.

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 10 months of this year, Vietnam exported over 401,000 tonnes of rice worth 201.2 million USD to the Southeast Asian country.-VNA