Govt to import 1 million tons of paddy and 100,000 tons of rice to avoid possible shortage of food grains

Published On: August 5, 2023 09:06 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 5: The government has decided to immediately bring one million tons of paddy and 100,000 tons of rice from India.

Gajendra Prasad Thakur, director general at the Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection said the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply has prompted importing the aforementioned quantity of food grains along with 50,000 tons of sugar. “However, the ministry is yet to fix the date when it will import the foods.”

On July 20, the Indian government announced a ban on export of non-Basmati white rice amid concern over rice supply in the Indian market. The measure is expected to impact around 80 percent of India's rice exports.

Following the decision of the Indian government, on July 31, a meeting of the Central Monitoring and Evaluation Committee under the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministries led by the Chief Secretary Baikuntha Aryal decided to step up action to address the possible shortage and price hike of the staple food due to the situation. Nepal imports large quantities of coarse rice and Jeera Masino rice from India.

Targeting to address the possible price hikes of the foods mainly during the upcoming festivals, the government has planned to import food grains to maintain adequate stock. Traders have been demanding the government to import at least one million tons of paddy for this purpose.

Meanwhile, the price of rice has increased by Rs 200 per 20 kg pack after the southern neighbor imposed restrictions on export. According to the Nepal Retailers Association, the retail price of rice has increased after the rice industries raised their prices.  

The government records show that Nepal fulfills around 20 percent of its demand for rice through imports. Of around 7 million tons of demand, around 1.5 million tons of rice is imported.

In the last fiscal year, Nepal imported rice and paddy worth around Rs 34 billion from India, according to the records of the Department of Customs. In the fiscal year 2021/22, the country imported the grains of Rs 47.59 billion, out of the total import of agricultural goods worth Rs 341 billion.


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