Rice to be imported from Myanmar, India, and Pakistan
- Indian supplier given green light
- Myanmar/Pakistani suppliers being evaluated
BY Buddhika Samaraweera
Following the Cabinet of Ministers recent approval to import 100,000 metric tonnes (MT) of rice considering the prevailing shortage of rice in the market, the Trade Ministry, which is tasked with importing the stock, is to import a portion of the 100,000 MT of rice from India, while the rest is likely to be imported from Myanmar and Pakistan, The Morning learnt.
When inquired as to from which country the said rice consignment is being imported from, Trade Ministry Secretary Bhadrani Jayawardena told The Morning that suppliers from India, Myanmar, and Pakistan have expressed their consent to supply the consignment. “Suppliers from three countries have come forward to supply the rice, namely, India, Myanmar, and Pakistan. India is currently assigned to supply a portion of it and the other countries are currently being evaluated,” she said.
When queried as to whether there is a specific quantity of rice to be purchased from the above three countries, Jayawardena stated: “The quantity of rice that can be supplied by the relevant supplier is to be imported according to the tender procedure.”
However, when questioned as to whether there is a specific date on which the said stock of rice would arrive in the country, she noted that such a date cannot be specified. “There are many things to be processed. Letters will be exchanged from here to there and the relevant payments need to be made. The local buyer, the State Trading (General) Corporation (STC) and the rice supplier will take necessary action,” she further added.
Considering the prevailing shortage of rice in the market, the Cabinet, on 27 September, granted its approval to the Trade Ministry to import a stock of 100,000 MT of rice.
Even though the Trade Ministry is still not in a position to state as to when the said stock of rice would arrive in the country, Jayawardena, a few hours before the Cabinet granted its approval for the Trade Ministry to import said amount of rice, told The Morning that if the Government decides so, all necessary arrangements have been made to import a consignment of rice as a security stock.
In the past few weeks, there have been reports of consumers complaining that there is a shortage of rice in all parts of the country, despite the Government having imposed emergency regulations on the supply of essential food items.
Consumers had posted on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook, that there was a shortage of keeri samba and samba rice even in supermarkets in certain areas, and that only red nadu and white kekulu rice were available in sufficient quantities. There were also reports that imported basmati rice was available in shops, but that local basmati rice was not available.