The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has decided to immediately import 200,000 metric tons of rice.
Sri Lanka has launched an open international tender to import a fresh tranche of rice on 19 October – a first call in recent times to be issued to suppliers worldwide.
“We are making every effort to ensure that there will be no shortages for our consumers,” Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said during his discussions with his top officials at the Ministry last Thursday.
“Under the directions of the government’s Cost of Living Committee (CoLC) we announced on 13 October that we will import 500,000 MT rice. The aim of CoLC is to support our consumers with lowest prices and give steady supplies,” he added.
The 500,000 MT announced previously on 13 October was mostly on government to government rice procurement basis. However, the latest tender which too is part of this 500,000 MT tranche, enlists a far wider supplier base and is under the International Competitive Bidding Procedure, meaning any qualifying foreign government or even a foreign private sector supplier is able to bid for the latest rice tranche-which is 200,000 MT.
The breakdown of the 200,000 MT being 90,000MT of Parboiled Nadu rice, 60,000MT of Samba (Parboiled) rice, and 50,000 MT of White Raw rice.
The ministry said that Sri Lankan rice importers too are eligible to take part in the latest bidding. Of the 200,000 MT rice called for, Sri Lanka expect 100,000 MT to arrive in Colombo by end November 2017 and the other 100,000 MT to arrive by end of December 2017.
Based on assessments of rice supply capacities in many world markets at present (October 2017) the potential supply sources for the latest 200,000 MT rice are India, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam -though other destinations too could partner.