Government sought cheaper rice from India
Wednesday, 02 January 2008

Government sought cheaper rice from IndiaDhaka,Facing a major crisis in soaring prices of essentials, Bangladesh's interim government has sought cheaper rice from India to tackle the problem as it nears the completion of one year in office.

"We are negotiating with the Indian authorities to import rice at their domestic rates, which would have a very positive impact here and help ensure our food security," Food Adviser Tapan Chowdhury said yesterday.

On December 27, India had hiked the price of its rice by USD 75 per tonne, barring the rice-importing countries from procuring ordinary rice from it at its domestic rates.

"India's sudden decision to raise rice export price to USD 500 per tonne is a big blow for us. It has left immediate impacts on Bangladesh's rice market," Chowdhury told reporters yesterday.

However, the food adviser said that the export price ceiling set by the Indian authorities would not affect the import of five lakh tonne rice as promised by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to the cyclone-affected areas.

"The ceiling is not applicable for import of that rice", he said.

A Bangladesh delegation will visit India within two to three days to negotiate on the import of the promised quantity of rice, officials said.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to import more rice from alternative destinations like Pakistan, Thailand, and Myanmar.


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