KATHMANDU, March 21: The Food Management and Trading Company Ltd (FMTCL) have solicited tender bids to purchase rice worth Rs 430 million.
According to Sarmila Neupane Subedi, information officer of FMTCL, procedure to purchase the rice was forwarded to provide the rice to the people in case of any emergency or scarcity of food in the country.
“We all of us are aware of the situation that the COVID-19 coronavirus has created. There is black marketing and scarcity of food, and day to day products in the market,” said Subedi, “The tender has been forwarded to store the rice and use it during emergency that may arise in the future.”
Besides the regular purchase of food grains by FMTCL on a yearly basis, it also purchases 25,000 tons of rice separately and stores them to use during any adverse situation or famine that may arise in the country. FMTCL has forwarded this move to have additional storage of rice in the country.
Amid the fear of transmission of the coronavirus, Nepal has closed all its border points with China and only four border points with India is open at the moment. There is fear among all the people regarding the scarcity of the product and people have been stocking up on food products. Merchants and shopkeepers have been taking advantage of this adverse situation and selling products through black marketing and for higher rate than the original price.
FMTCL and Salt Trading Corporation Limited are planning to open fair price shop in various places of the country to provide food items at reasonable prices. Earlier, fair price shops used to open during Dashain, Tihar and Chhath festivals with an aim to provide food items during festivals at reasonable rates.
“People are compelled to buy food items at higher rates as shopkeepers have hidden the products or are selling them for more than the actual price, so fair price shop will come in handy and people could find food grains easily at reasonable rates,” said Subedi.
FMTCL has been selling rice, wheat, Karnali simi, buckwheat flour and electric induction stove from its various outlets in the country.
According to Subedi, FMTCL has the target to purchase annual 30,000 tons of paddy and till now 21,000 tons have been purchased.
“Currently, FMTCL has only made procedures and plans to purchase rice but we need further discussion to purchase pulse and other items,” said Subedi.