In Bangladesh's first-ever export of coarse rice, 50,000 tonnes will be sent to Sri Lanka at a rate of $450 per tonne, Food Minister Quamrul Islam has said.
A Sri Lankan team would soon arrive in Dhaka to settle the deal and the rice would be exported within around 15 days, he told reporters yesterday after a meeting at the secretariat.
Bangladesh, in the past, exported some aromatic rice but this shipment to Sri Lanka would be the first-ever of non-fragrant rice.
Currently, the price of coarse rice in the international market is between $400 and $420 per tonne while the government procures rice from the local markets at $436 per tonne, he said.
Per kg of rice is sold at Tk 31 in the local market but Sri Lanka would be paying Tk 35 for per kg of the 50,000 tonnes of rice.
The country is going to export the rice as it has become self-sufficient in food, Quamrul claimed.
At present, the country produces around 3.5 crore tonnes of rice against the demand for around 3 crore tonnes, he said.
The food minister said every year around 30 to 40 lakh tonnes of rice remains surplus.
Even after that in the last fiscal year, the total food grain import was 29.93 lakh tonnes. Of which, the amount of rice was 3.74 lakh tonnes.
Asked about the rice-import despite the surplus, Qamrul said some high-quality rice, especially aromatic rice like Basmati, is usually imported on commercial basis.
Besides, some of the rice may have been imported as fodder, he added.
The food minister also said a decision to import 2.5 lakh tonnes of wheat from Ukraine was taken recently.
Wheat would also be imported from Russia and the discussions are underway, Qamrul said.