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Reference Date: 26-July-2023


  1. Planting operations of 2024 main rice crop has begun in some areas

  2. Cereal imports in 2023/24 forecast above five‑year average

Planting operations of 2024 main rice crop has begun in some areas

Harvesting of the 2023 secondary season paddy crop is about to finalize and 2023 aggregate paddy production is forecast at a near‑average level 2.5 million tonnes.

Planting of the 2024 main season rice crop began in June in Sabah State, a minor rice‑producing area, amid generally adequate soil moisture levels that supported planting operations and crop development (VCI map). In Peninsular Malaysia, the country’s main rice‑producing area, planting operations are about to start, while in the minor producing Sarawak State, rice planting is expected to commence in October. About 85 percent of the main rice crop is cultivated under irrigation in the northern parts of Peninsular Malaysia. According to the National Water Services Commission, as of 17 July 2023, irrigation water availability was generally adequate in most dams. However, water levels in five dams were at warning level1 and Muda Dam was at critical level, most of them situated in the northern parts of Peninsular Malaysia. From August to December, weather conditions in Sabah and Sarawak states, which account for about 15 percent of the national main season’s output and where rice is mainly rainfed, are forecast to be drier‑than‑average, with likely negative impacts on yields.

Cereal imports in 2023/24 forecast above five‑year average

The country relies on cereal imports to meet its domestic requirements, as local production covers only about one‑fourth of the total national cereal consumption. For the 2023/24 marketing year (July/June), total cereal imports are forecast at 6.9 million tonnes, 5 percent higher than the five‑year average. Wheat imports are forecast at 1.7 million tonnes, 8 percent above the five‑year average, driven by an increase in domestic demand for bread and bakery products, attributed to population growth and to the recovery of the tourism sector after the COVID‑19 pandemic. Rice imports in the 2023 calendar year are estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, 6 percent above the 2022 level. Maize imports, which account for the bulk of the imported cereal amounts, are projected at a near‑average level of 3.7 million tonnes, reflecting steady demand from the poultry industry.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

This brief was prepared using the following data/tools:
FAO/GIEWS Country Cereal Balance Sheet (CCBS)

FAO/GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Tool .

FAO/GIEWS Earth Observation for Crop Monitoring .

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) .


1 As per National Water Service Commission (SPAN), warning level is at 60 percent and critical level is at 30 percent for dam water reserves.