Food Minister Qamrul Islam on Wednesday said the government approved a proposal to import 100,000 tons of rice from Myanmar.
Emerging from a cabinet committee meeting on public purchase and economic affairs, he said: “The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase gave a nod of approval to import 100,000 tons rice from Myanmar.”
In reply to reporters’ query about whether the government will further purchase rice from the neighbouring country, he said: “We did not talk about this.”
During his recent visit to Naypyidaw, the minister signed a deal with his Myanmar counterpart on importing 350,000 tons of rice from the country in the next three years.
Additional Cabinet Secretary Mustafiur Rahman said the 100,000 tons of white rice would be imported under a G2G contact at a cost of Tk366.86cr.
He said: “Rice will be purchased at $442 per ton. Price per kg of rice will be Tk36.69. When the rice will be brought in depends on shipment from Myanmar.”
He, however, added that the shipping process would not take over a week.
Mustafiur also said the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved another proposal of the Food Ministry to purchase 50,000 tons of parboiled rice from global suppliers at a cost of Tk177.34cr.
Per ton of parboiled rice will be purchased at $427. M/S Mohammad Rabiul Islam Sonapotti Pabna is the lowest bidder for importing rice from the international market, he added.
“Bangladesh is facing a shortfall of 1.5 million tons of rice this year as crops were severely damaged by floods in recent months. As of September 5, the stock of rice stood at 366,000 tons,” the Food Ministry proposal reads.
Bangladesh has so far purchased around 150,000 tons of rice from individual suppliers this fiscal year.
The ministry will hold a meeting on October 15 to decide on costs and timeframe for importing rice from India. Sources said that no tender would be floated for importing rice from the country, as it would be purchased on a G2G basis.
Food Ministry sources said rice price has shot up by 39% in the last nine months in local markets, but in global markets, it rose by only 6%.
According to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, per kg of coarse rice is selling at Tk46-50 in Dhaka. Last month, the price rose to Tk54. This same rice was sold at Tk38 at the beginning of this year.
Price of fine rice rise, too, rocketed to Tk 70 in the local market.