DHAKA: As the Bangladesh government races to overcome a shortage of rice which is the staple food for more than 160 million people, the country is now set to purchase 100,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar, putting aside a rift over the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Bangladesh and Myanmar have been at odds over the more than 1 million Muslim Rohingya refugees in camps in southern Bangladesh.
High rice prices pose a problem for the Dhaka government, which is ramping up efforts to replenish its depleted reserves after floods last year ravaged crops and sent prices to a record high.
The vast majority of refugees fled Myanmar in 2017 from a military-led crackdown that U.N investigators said was executed with “genocidal intent” – assertions that Myanmar denies. Bangladesh will import white rice in a government-to-government deal at $485 a tonne, including cost, insurance and freight (CIF) liner out basis, said Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum, the secretary at the country’s food ministry.
According to reports, Bangladesh is also buying 150,000 tonnes of rice from India’s state-run firm NAFED in a government-to-government deal while it has issued a series of the tender to buy the grain.
Bangladesh, traditionally the world’s third-biggest rice producer with around 35 million tonnes annually, uses almost all its production to feed its people. It still often requires imports to cope with shortages caused by floods or droughts.
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