Move on to import 0.8m tonnes rice, says Food Secretary

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 21 Aug 2017, 22:09:41
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Move on to import 0.8m tonnes rice, says Food Secretary

The government has initiated a process of importing 800,000 tonnes  (MT) rice out of planned 1.5 million while 250,000 MT has already reached the country, said a top official on Monday.

"We have already lined up a process to import an estimated 800,000 MT rice and the process of importing another 700,000 MT is expected to begin as soon as possible," Food Secretary Kaikobad Hossain told the state news agency BSS.

He said some 250,000 MT rice has already reached the country from Vietnam, another 250,000 MT would be imported from Cambodia and the remaining 300,000 MT would be imported through bidding.

The consignment of some 550,000 MT rice will arrive in the country by the end of September, he said, adding that the process of importing the remaining 700,000 MT would begin as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian Federation to import 300,000 MT wheat, said the food official, adding that the wheat would reach the country within the next three months.

On Wednesday, the government decided to import 1.5 million MT rice and 500,000 MT wheat at a meeting of the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee (FPMC) at the Secretariat.

To this end, the government has further lowered the import duty on rice to 2 per cent from the earlier 10 to encourage import and to tackle any food crisis.

Two months ago, the government slashed the import duty on rice to 10 per cent against the backdrop of a major market instability and storage of the prime staple.

"This decision of the government does not mean there is a food crisis in the country," Food Minister Quamrul Islam said after the FPMC meeting. "In fact, there is no food shortage in the country."

The Food Minister hoped that the combined efforts will help ease the price of rice in the market. In 2016-17 fiscal, the country imported 5,823,460 MT food grains in the public and private sectors.

Of the total import, 392,840 MT rice was brought in the public sector while 5,430,620 MT wheat and rice in the private sector.
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