Vietnam is the biggest rice supplier of Malaysia, shipping more than 658,000 tonnes of grain worth 812 million RM (247 million USD) to the market in 2013.

Malaysian media on April 5 quoted Minister of Agriculture and Industry Ismail Sabri Yaakob as saying his country preferred Vietnamese rice due to its reasonable prices and high quality.

He told Malaysian reporters in Hanoi on April 4 that Malaysia plans to increase the national rice output to reduce its dependence on imports by 2020. The intention came after a Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural cooperation with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was signed earlier in the day.

To realise this goal, the Malaysian ministry will focus on improving domestic rice quality through applying effective farming techniques, putting forth incentives for farmers to produce rice at a large scale, and encouraging them to contribute resources and money to the national manufacturing.

Malaysia is among the countries with the biggest amount of rice imported from foreign markets. Last year, its rice imports increased to 1.1 million tonnes from 983,000 tonnes in 2012.-VNA