Bangladesh to import 1 lakh tonnes of rice from Myanmar | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 12, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:48 AM, October 12, 2017

Bangladesh to import 1 lakh tonnes of rice from Myanmar

The government will import 1 lakh tonnes of white rice from Myanmar at a price which is $15 more per tonne than the price it is paying to buy parboiled rice.

The government is also buying 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice, which is more in demand, at $427 per tonne.

In Myanmar, rice is priced at $442 per tonne.

The cabinet committee yesterday approved the state-to-state arrangement with Myanmar and awarded the work to the lowest bidder M/s Md Rabiul Islam of Pabna.

It also agreed to import about 51 lakh tonnes of fuel oil in 15 years at a premium of $5.92 per barrel.  

The oil will be brought from Shiliguri's Numaligarh Refinery to Parbatipur using the Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline.

With more than 5.2 lakh Rohingyas crossing over since August 25 amidst a military crackdown, Food Minister Qamrul Islam went to Myanmar in September to discuss about the import.

Although the initial plan was to import 10 lakh tonnes of rice in one year, a team which came over from the neighbouring country on a follow-up visit did not lower prices that much, prompting the government to settle on 1 lakh tonnes.

In June, the government decided to import, also under state-to-state arrangement, 2 lakh tonnes of white rice from Vietnam at a price which is $12 less per tonne than the Myanmar rate.

However, the cabinet committee approved a proposal on August 30 to purchase 2.5 lakh tonnes of white rice from Cambodia which will require $11 more per tonne.

Under similar arrangements, 1.5 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice will be imported from Thailand at $465 per tonne and 1 lakh tonne from India at $455 a tonne, said a food ministry official.

Prices under state-to-state arrangements are usually high but the government opts for it as supply and better quality are ensured, said the official, adding that international market prices do fluctuate.

The purchases aim to raise food grain stocks which fell below 2 lakh tonnes following the loss of 20 lakh tonnes of the staple in flash floods in six northeastern haor districts and fungal attacks (rice blast) in 19 districts during the boro season.

Thanks to recent government initiatives, rice stocks as of October 5 stood at 3.66 lakh tonnes.

Initially, the government decision was to import 9 lakh tonnes of foodgrains this fiscal year but it was later increased to 20 lakh tonnes -- 15 lakh tonnes of rice and 5 lakh tonnes of wheat.

The shortage has triggered rice imports both at government and private levels.

From July 1 to October 4, 10.78 lakh tonnes of rice was imported, with the government accounting for 2.94 lakh tonnes. 

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