The Ministry of Food’s controversial proposal to import 100,000 tons of rice from Myanmar amid heightened tensions over the Rohingya crisis, will be placed at cabinet committee meeting on public purchase on Wednesday for approval at the cost of Tk366.86 crore, officials said.
An MOU was signed with Myanmar on September 17 and the cost per ton rice will be $442, according to the Ministry of Food’s proposal.
Bangladesh, normally the world’s fourth-biggest rice producer, has emerged as a major importer of the grain this year after floods damaged crops and sent the prices of the staple to record highs. The country is currently is facing a rice shortage of 1.5 million tons.
To make sure there is an adequate supply of rice, the government is also going to import a total of 250,000 tons of rice from Thailand and India to shore up depleted stocks of the staple grain, head of the state grain buyer said on Monday, according to Reuters.
“We will buy 150,000 tons of parboiled rice from Thailand at $465 a ton and another 100,000 tons from India’s PEC at $455 a ton,” Badrul Hasan of the Directorate General of Food, Bangladesh’s procurement agency, told Reuters.
The prices include shipping, insurance and discharge costs.
According to the sources at the Ministry of Food, the price of rice per kg has risen by 39% over the last nine months in Bangladesh, while it has only risen by a mere 6% globally.
However the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh said coarse rice was selling at Tk46-50 per kg in Dhaka in August and the price rose to Tk54 per kg in September. In January, the cost of coarse rice was Tk38.
Meanwhile the cost of fine grain rice has been skyrocketing, selling at Tk70 per kg last month.