India to export rice to Bangladesh as neighbouring country hit by shortfall

In a first of its kind arrangement between India and Bangladesh in recent years, India would be exporting around 5 lakh tonne of parboiled rice to Bangladesh for meeting its domestic demand and creating a buffer stock. The India government has authorised agri cooperative NAFED to export rice to Bangladesh. At present, Bangladesh is facing a shortfall of 1.5 million tonne (mt) of rice this year due to crop losses by heavy flooding in the recent months. Bangladesh’s ministry of food has called a meeting on October 15 to decide on the prices and time-frame for supply of rice from India. As the rice exports would be carried on a G2G (government-to-government) basis, there would not be any tender for rice exports from India. Around 1.5 lakh tonne of rice has been already exported to Bangladesh by private trade this fiscal year. NAFED is expected to source parboiled rice from eastern states such as Chhattisgarh, Bengal and Odisha for exports to Bangladesh as the region has similar food habits. Meanwhile, in a bid to boost domestic rice supply, Bangladesh has cut import duty on rice twice in last couple of months. Recently, the import duty was slashed to 2% from existing 10%. In June, the import duty was slashed to 10% from 25%. Earlier this year, the Bangladesh government had set a rice production target of 19.1 mt, but floods in the northeastern region have damaged around 2 mt rice. The government has denied there’s a crisis saying the stock in government warehouses as well as the supply in market is ample.