Govt to import 50,000 tonnes of white rice

Reuters . Dhaka | Update:

Bangladesh's state grains buyer issued an international tender on Monday to import 50,000 tonnes of white rice, officials said, its second tender in a week to build reserves and control prices of the staple.

The state agency, Directorate General of Food, came up with its first tender for rice since 2011 as local rice prices hit a record high and state reserves are at a six-year low.

It plans to import 600,000 tonnes of rice after flash floods hit fields about to be harvested, potentially wiping out 700,000 tonnes of crops.

Authorities are considering waiving the tax on rice imports, Badrul Hasan, the head of the Directorate General of Food, told Reuters last week.

He said the state agency also planned to import rice through government-to-government deals with producers such as Thailand, Vietnam and India because importing via tenders is a lengthy process.

In the latest tender, the deadline for offers is May 28 and the rice is to be shipped in 40 days after the deal is signed, a senior official at the state grains buyer said.

The world's fourth-biggest rice producer with more than 30 million tonnes per year, Bangladesh consumes almost all its production to feed its population of 160 million. It often requires imports, however, to cope with shortages caused by natural disasters like floods and droughts. (Reporting by Ruma Paul, editing by Ed Osmond)

   
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