DHAKA: Bangladesh has extended a ban on the export of most varieties of rice until next June, the commerce secretary said on Thursday, backtracking on a plan to end the restriction.
Bangladesh, the world`s fourth-biggest rice producer, banned overseas shipments of some common varieties in May 2008 following a spike in prices. It banned all exports a year later.
“The decision to continue the export ban on common rice has been taken to ensure smooth supply of the staple food in the domestic market and to keep the prices stable,” said Commerce Secretary Mohammad Ghulam Hussain.
In April, Bangladesh ended a ban on aromatic rice exports.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abul Muhith said late last month the government was also planning to lift the ban on common rice to support farmers after record crops and bulging domestic reserves left prices below production costs.
Bangladesh produces enough rice to feed its population of 160 million, but often requires imports to cope with shortages caused by natural calamities such as floods and droughts.
Rice prices are a politically sensitive issue as a third of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
This year, Bangladesh is heading for record rice production of more than 34 million tonnes after two successive years of record output.
In 2011, Bangladesh was the fourth largest importer of rice in the world with imports of 1.48 million tonnes, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
BDST: 2030 HRS, AUG 09, 2012