Dhaka to buy 400,000 tonnes of Indian rice

March 31st, 2008 - 2:46 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, March 31 (IANS) The Bangladesh government has decided to import 400,000 tonnes of Indian rice at $430 per tonne after New Delhi said that its revised export price of $1,000 for private players will not apply on state-to-state transactions. India had offered the price last week and had asked Dhaka to confirm by April 1. But it also raised the export price for private players to $1,000 in order to tide over its own shortages. But a subsequent clarification that the new price will not apply to Bangladesh helped Dhaka take a decision.

“We have approved import of rice at $430 per tonne. The import price of each kg rice will be 43 cents,” Planning and Financial Adviser A.B. Mirza Azizul Islam told reporters after a decision to this effect here Sunday.

“The imports are aimed at increasing and maintaining our stocks at a comfortable level.”

The move will help Dhaka meet its immediate shortages caused by the failure of the paddy crop due to Cyclone Sidr last November. But it would be a stopgap measure with the Boro rice harvest a few weeks away.

The price of rice, the staple diet for Bangladeshis, has risen along with other essential commodities due to falling food stocks.

India committed to export 500,000 tonnes of rice at the lower rate, drawing from its own poor stocks, when its External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee came here Dec 1 following the cyclone.

Of the amount, 100,000 tonnes of rice had already reached Bangladesh from West Bengal at $399 per tonne. But several hikes in the export price of rice by the Indian government since then had made the import of the rest of the 400,000 tonnes uncertain.

Now the new consignments are expected to reach the country over the next two months, officials said.

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