Demand for Laila exceeding supply

National 3 minutes, 9 seconds


LAILA rice supplies were sold out fast after being restocked on shelves by some of the leading supermarkets in the Sultanate yesterday.

Despite the recent complaints from retailers that the local rice variety is in short supply, the Department of Agrifood and Agriculture (DAA) said in a statement that supply of Laila rice remains regular.

The DAA assured members of the public that the shortage was not due to the production of rice by farmers.

In fact, there was an increase of domestic production of rice since 2014.

“However, the demand of ‘beras Laila’ still surpassed supply which is very much lower than the national requirement. Introduction of other promising varieties is part and parcel of successful research activities, but nevertheless, the majority of farmers are still planting Laila variety,” said the department.

“Laila variety is known to be intolerant towards drought and is only recommended to be planted in irrigated areas including Wasan, Panchur Murai, Limau Manis, Bebuloh and Batang Perhantian,” the statement added.

With the completion of the large scale irrigation project in Brunei-Muara district in the next two years, the DAA is expecting not only an increase in local rice production but also hope to meet the local demand for Laila rice.

Hua Ho Manggis Mall employee Ali Rahman Jumat told The Brunei Times that the moment they restocked yesterday, all of the 30 packets of Laila rice was sold off within an hour.

“I had to release the rice packets 10 at a time so that some of our customers would also have a chance at purchasing Laila rice. The local rice is quite high in demand,” said Ali Rahman.

According to the supermarket employee, the availability of the stocks depends on the suppliers.

The supermarket will be advised if and when there are stock available, he said.

“We will, however, place an order everyday for the local rice; when we ordered in the morning they will usually arrive at night and at most, we will receive around 40 packets per order,” he said.

A Food Section Supervisor at Giant Hypermart Tasek Rimba who wished to only be known as Didi, also shared the same observation.

The Laila rice, she confirmed, is a clear favourite and sells like hot cakes.

Didi said the supermarket restocks its supplies of around 250 to 500 packets of Laila rice two to three days ago but the amount has decreased considerably as of yesterday.

She also said that the supermarkets has not encountered a shortage of Laila supplies before as they continued to receive their supplies on time.

“It is understandable that the Laila rice is currently in high demand, so we make sure that we do not have any shortage,” said Didi.

Supervisor-in-charge at Sim Kim Huat (SKH) Department Store in Kiulap, Ronald Mangring, on the other hand reported that it has been two weeks since they received the stock for the Laila rice.

Usually they receive around 30 to 60 packets of Laila rice from their supplier, which would then be sold off in less than a day due to demand.

He expressed hope that the supply could be consistent so as not to disappoint customers.

“It will be good for our customers as I had encountered some asking when the Laila rice will be available; and it will also be good for our business here,” said Mangring.

Several leading supermarkets and smaller shops were appointed as retailers and distributors for the local rice strand through an open tender, in order to meet with public demand for greater purchasing accessibility.

With regards to the shortage of supplies in some of the leading supermarkets, the DAA explained that the volume of the Laila rice supplied to them must be adjusted as they need to evenly distribute the rice across all of the retail outlets.

The Brunei Times