Govt to import 50,000 tonnes of rice
The government yesterday gave its nod to a proposal to buy 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from abroad as part of its effort to augment public food stock.
The initiative also aims at helping the government intervene in the market through social safety net schemes to curb volatility in the price of the staple.
Indian company Rika Global Impex Ltd got the contract to supply the food grain at $404 per tonne, said Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, additional secretary of the cabinet division, after a meeting of the cabinet committee on purchase.
In the local currency, the price will be Tk 34.28 each kilogram. Law Minister Anisul Huq chaired the meeting.
The Indian supplier was the lowest bidder. The highest bid was $423.95 per tonne, said an official of the food ministry.
This was the second tender from the government in the last one month as it was not getting enough responses from farmers and millers to supply paddy and rice respectively at its fixed prices because of soaring prices in the local market.
Last month, the Directorate of Food invited bids to buy the grains from external sources.
The food office also could not attain the target on the procurement of rice and paddy from the Boro harvest.
But instead of hiking its rice and paddy purchase prices from local markets during the current harvest of Aman crop, the food ministry is turning to international markets to buy the grain.
In the first phase, it plans to buy 300,000 tonnes of rice out of a target of up to 5 lakh tonnes to replenish the public food stock, said Food Secretary Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum earlier this week.
As of December 7, the stock of foodgrains in the state-run warehouses was 7.9 lakh tonnes, down 43 per cent from 13.87 lakh tonnes on the same day a year ago, food ministry data showed.
Until the date, the Directorate of Food has managed to buy only 53 tonnes of paddy out of its target of 200,000 tonnes from local growers.
When it comes to rice, it has been able to procure 3,476 tonnes from millers out of 600,000 tonnes targeted.