Rice is still the number one Malaysian staple food, though the consumption of rice per capita showed a decreasing trend from 93 kg per capita in 2011 to 88.9kg per capita in 2014. This scenario might be due to people’s change of lifestyles, tastes and preferences, especially among the younger generation. Sheng et al. (2008) stated that nowadays Malaysians tend to change their diets from rice to wheat-based foods. However, rice consumption in absolute terms has significantly increased mainly due to population increase as well as immigrants from neighboring countries. Currently, the population of Malaysia is around 30.6 million, of which around 2.0 million people are migrants from Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India. They work in plantations, other areas of agriculture and manufacturing industries.
Fig. 1 shows the trend of area, production and yield of paddy from 1963 to 2014. The annual growth rate of paddy production and yield is 1.9% and 2.1% respectively. Meanwhile, the paddy harvested area shows a fluctuating trend with the annual growth rate at -0.2%. Rice production in Malaysia was at 1.83 million MT in 2014 with average yield of 4.2 MT/ha. On the other hand, the total consumption for approximately 30.6 million people was 2.72 million MT. The Malaysian government imported around 0.9 million MT of rice from various countries such as Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam to supplement the short of supply from domestic production.