The country’s rice stock will be increased to 10 lakh tonnes by August to ensure supply of the staple food-grain and meet any emergency demand, food minister Qamrul Islam said on Thursday.
‘There is no food crisis in the country,’ the minister asserted during a press conference at his secretariat office when he also gave a details of the government’s ongoing efforts for maintaining a comfortable rice stock.
According to the minister, 1.10 lakh tonnes of rice would reach in Chittagong port from Vietnam by July when another 1.8 lakh tonnes would come in August.
‘The government is procuring a total of 2.5 lakh tonnes of rice from Vietnam on G2G (government to government) contract basis, of which 20,000 tonnes arrived in the outer anchorage of the Chittagong port,’ the minister said.
Besides, he said the private sector imported 84,000 tonnes of rice and would import more in the next few months.
‘Four tenders for importing rice are now under process,’ Qamrul said noting that the importers should complete the procurement and shipment in 40 days of the work order.
The minister also said that negotiation would begin soon with India, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia to procure rice on G2G basis.
A team from India is expected to arrive in Dhaka on July 16 and another one from Thailand on July 24 to discuss and finalise the rice procurement deals.
‘These initiatives would help us increase the country’s rice stock to 10 lakh tonnes in August and 12 lakh tonnes in September,’ he said.
Qamrul said the internal procurement would also be intensified for procuring over 2 lakh tonnes of rice.
Clarifying the causes of higher rice prices on the market, the minister held corrupt business alliance responsible for manipulating the price by building stock during the flash flood in the haor areas.
‘We have black listed 16,000 dishonest owners of rice mills for three months when the government would not procure any rice from them,’ Qamrul said, reiterating the warning that stern action would be taken against any unholy activities for reaping benefit from increasing rice prices on syndication.
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