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Climate change putting national rice security at risk: Kiandee
[Image: 01052021-Ronald_Kiandee-Bernama_.jpg]

KUALA LUMPUR – Climate change is posing a threat to the production levels of Malaysia’s staple food, rice, and this is expected to have an adverse impact on the nation’s rice security.

The effects of climate change are being felt increasingly in recent years as the higher risk of occurrence of natural disasters such as floods and prolonged dry spells, as well as shifting rainy seasons and rising sea levels, have influenced water availability.

According to Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (Mafi) data, between 2017 and 2021, a total of 40,828.28ha of padi fields nationwide were destroyed by floodwaters while another 9,336.45ha were damaged due to drought.

In a recent interview, Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said Malaysia’s food security has been affected by the increase in the average annual rainfall every decade, based on the nation’s rainfall records for 40 years, that is, between 1978 and 2017.

Mafi, meanwhile, has also observed an increase in the size of localities experiencing a reduction in average annual rainfall distribution, particularly in the west coast and southern and central parts of Peninsular Malaysia, such as the Sg Pahang and Sg Kuantan basins.

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