DHAKA: To build a buffer stock to meet any exigencies, the government would import 200,000 metric tonnes of rice from India and Vietnam, the Food Minister announced Tuesday in the wake of an upturn in food prices.
Dr Abdur Razzak said the government has taken the initiative to import rice as the price this year was higher and also keeping in mind any unforeseen adversity.
The Food Minister unveiled the plan while talking to newsmen after a meeting with Vice-General Director of Southern Food Corporation of Vietnam Kauthi Angok Hoar at his office.
“A memorandum of understanding will be signed with Vietnam tomorrow (Wednesday) while the tender process for the import of rice has already been completed,” Dr Razzak said.
The minister said that Vietnam had earlier expressed willingness to sell rice to Bangladesh and Tuesday’s meeting was to follow up. The minister said he discussed with the Vietnamese officials different aspects of rice import. The price of one metric tonne of rice from Vietnam will be US$ 380.
He said another one lakh metric tonnes of rice will be brought from India. “We had requested India to give us three lakh metric tonnes of rice, but they agreed to supply one lakh metric tonne. The Indian rice will cost US$ 450 to 480 per metric tonne.
The minister said Open Market Sale (OMS) of rice would begin ahead of the month of Ramadan. The rice will be sold to fair-price cardholders in the capital while at district and upazila levels there will be open rationing.
The price of rice will not be more than Tk 25 a kilogram.
BDST/1500 HRS, JULY 20, 2010