Govt to stock up on 900,000 tons of rice by Nov

21.09.2017

Government has decided to store 900,000 tons of rice by November 12 to rein the rising price of the staple food in local marketsFile Photo

Coarse rice is now selling at Tk64 in local markets - a record high for the country. This same rice was sold at Tk38 at the beginning of the year

The government will stockpile 900,000 tons of rice by November 12 to stem the rising price of the staple food in local markets.

According to the sources in the Ministry of Food, the per kg rice price has risen by 39% over the last nine months in Bangladesh’s markets, but by only 6% on the  international market.

Coarse rice is now selling at Tk64 in local markets – a record high for the country. This same rice was sold at Tk38 at the beginning of the year.

“We have already taken steps to import 900,000 tons of rice to ease the upward price pressure,” Food Secretary Md Kaikobad Hossain told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“A total of 200,000 tons of rice is now in government storage while 150,000 tons is at the Chittagong port now,” he said. “The remaining 550,000 tons will arrive at Chittagong by November 12.”

Finance Minister AMA Muhith chaired Wednesday’s cabinet committee meeting, which also approved the Food Ministry’s proposal to import 50,000 tons of non-bashmoti and parboiled rice from Thailand through an international tender.

In local currency, the per kg price of this rice has been fixed at Tk36.

Food Secretary Kaikobad added that the total import of more than 900,000 tons of rice will be made entirely through Government-to-Government agreements.

“The private sector has no role to play in this regard,” he said.

“It is true that the import cost through international tender is lower than that of the Government-to-Government purchase scheme, but the G-to-G initiative ensures product quality.”

The food secretary said sometimes it so happens that awarded firms do not intend to import rice and do not provide guarantee money to the government, which creates uncertainty in the local market. This is not seen in G-to-G scheme.

The food ministry aimed to procure 1,000,000 tons of rice from international markets to meet the rice shortage. Stocks had fallen to a five-year low of 345,000 tons as at September 14.

According to a report of the ministry, the government failed to import 300,000 metric tons of rice from Thailand and India due to price differences between the two countries and the international market.

The per unit cost of importing from Thailand was $464 under the Government-to-Government purchase while that from India was $454.

Last month the government signed two deals with Vietnam and Cambodia respectively to import two and a half million tons of rice from each of the two countries.

According to the ministry source, food Minister Md Qamrul Islam set the target of 8,00,000 tons of rice collection internally in the current Boro season. By September 10, only 250,000 tons had been collected.

The minister earlier announced that the government would procure 1,600,000 tons of paddy, rice and wheat, 78% of which was not achieved.

After the inter-ministerial meeting of Food and Expenditure

Committee on August 16, Qamrul told reporters that the target of harvesting 19,100,000 tons of Boro paddy was not achieved due to flood in haor and other
areas.

“I did not buy the plan to procure 700,000 tons of rice and 800,000 tons of wheat,” he said, when asked about procurement.


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