The government has decided to import 150,000 tons of parboiled rice from Thailand, and procure another 100,000 tons from local traders at a total cost of Tk1017.14cr to boost domestic food grain reserves.
The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved two Food Ministry proposals on the purchases on Wednesday, at a meeting chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith.
After the meeting, Additional Secretary of Cabinet Division Mostafizur Rahman said: “A total of 150,000 tons of rice will be imported from Thailand at a cost of Tk578.92 crore.
"The remaining 100,000 tons will be supplied at a cost of Tk438.22 crore by local traders, who import rice from India, Thailand, Pakistan and Vietnam.
He added that traders Rabiul Islam and Mahmmand Aynul Haque would deliver the rice to 38 warehouses across the country.
Bangladesh is the fourth biggest producer of rice. It moved to import rice to replenish its depleted stocks and cool local market, after flash floods cut domestic production and pushed up rice prices in local market earlier this year.
The government slashed taxes on rice imports to 2% from 28% to replenish supplies and cool the soaring prices.
According to the Food Ministry proposals, the negotiations between Bangladesh and Thailand ended successfully with the Thai government agreeing to sell rice at $465 per ton.
Thailand had initially asked for $516 per ton under a government to government deal.
The Prime Minister’s Office had directed the Food Ministry to import 1.15 million tons of rice under G2G agreement and also through international and domestic tenders within the next month.
Last week, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved another proposal of the ministry to purchase 100,000 tons of rice from India at Tk377.65 crore, with each ton costing $455 (Tk37, 487).
The rice will be imported under a G2G agreeent.
As of October 18, Bangladesh had a reserve of 499,000 tons of food grains, including 396,000 tons of rice.