Sri Lanka prepares MoUs to purchase 155,000 MT rice from Thailand and Myanmar


Sri Lanka, having concluded international 'rice talks' successfully, on Monday began finalizing the Memorandums of Understanding to proceed with the orders to purchase rice from Thailand and Myanmar, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.

The Minister said the MoUs will be finalized soon and submitted to the two countries as soon as possible.

Altogether the country expects to get a month's supply of fresh rice tranche by the initiatives, the Minister said meeting with his top officials on Monday to get updates on rice tranche to be purchased from abroad to end the rice shortage.

The purchases are made on the directions of President Maithripala Sirisena and the Cost of Living Committee of the Government.

Accordingly, a MoU is being drawn by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to import 100,000 MT of par boiled (Nadu) rice and another 25,000 MT white raw rice from Thailand. Another MoU is being drawn to import 30,000 MT of white raw rice from Myanmar. Both these MoUs are Government to Government level.

Another purchase with Indian suppliers under Government to Foreign Private Sector is being worked and prices are being negotiated for a huge 100,000 MT par boiled (Nadu) rice.

Meanwhile Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad Khan Sipra during his meeting with Minister Bathiudeen on 31 July has informed the Minister to wait for Pakistani Government to Government supplies till September as the current prices in Pakistan are too high for Sri Lankan market, which is around $480 per MT. By September the prices are expected to fall to $400-410 range so that Sri Lanka can start placing the orders.

On Monday, the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under Minister Bathiudeen has started pulling paddy stocks for milling.

On the orders the Cost of Living Committee on 26 July, the CWE started extracting 51,000 MT of paddy lying with the Paddy Marketing Board's warehouses to mill in CWE's own mills as well as through the private millers. The total rice tranche for expected consumption after milling this paddy stock is 32,000 MT. The milled rice will be given to Lanka Sathosa to be sold to local consumers at the lowest possible price below the market prices for rice.

As a result of international MoUs and domestic paddy milling, a total of 187,000 MT of rice is now expected to flood the market immediately. With the expected Indian rice stocks of 100,000 MT, the total tranche in pipeline is a huge 287,000 MT - an excess of 87,000 MT above the country's rice consumption of 200,000 MT each month.

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