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India will fulfil its commitment of exporting rice: food adviser PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

Food adviser AMM Shawkat Ali said Sunday that India's decision to stop rice exports to Bangladesh would not affect the local market. "India will fulfil its commitment of exporting five lakh tonnes of rice to Bangladesh," the adviser told reporters, after the media reported that India had halted rice exports to Bangladesh through private channels.

The export restriction on non-basmati rice notified on Feb 7 is applicable to all countries, and is not specific to Bangladesh, the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said in a statement. "There have been some press reports about an export restriction imposed by India on non-basmati rice. Some of the reports suggest that the restriction is applicable to Bangladesh only," the statement said.

On the waiver of the ban by India on exports of rice up to 5 lakh tonnes to Bangladesh, the high commission clarified that the process of procurement of 5 lakh tonnes of rice was underway. Shawkat said the government has been closely monitoring the domestic market to keep the rice prices in check, using required measures. The middle-income people may have to bear the brunt, to some extent for some more days, of fluctuating rice prices, he said, which is expected to be over soon.

The foreign ministry has been urged by Bangladesh importers and traders to persuade its Indian counterpart to help execute L/Cs already opened for rice imports from India, he said. "India will hopefully allow the exports of rice against which letters of credit have already been opened," the adviser said.

Asked if the government had started lobbying the Indian counterpart to review its decision, the adviser said the government had already started communicating with the Indian counterpart to ensure that the friendly relationship between the two countries does not wilt.

Bangladesh has already approved the purchase of 2.1 lakh tonnes of rice from India and the import of another 0.75 lakh tonnes would be approved at the next meeting of the cabinet committee on public purchase, the adviser said.

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