Sri Lanka has picked three countries to obtain 200,000 MT rice immediately to meet the shortfall in its domestic market, the Minister of Industry and Commerce said.
A four man team of Lankan officials is scheduled to take off tonight (7) to Pakistan to pick rice varieties for the domestic rice market. On July 12, the team will head to Myanmar from Islamabad to test Burmese rice varieties for the Lankan market.
“Yala season’s failure and the floods created this rice shortage. We have picked Myanmar, Pakistan and India and the country that did not get in was Indonesia” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen. “The team, after checking both Pakistani and Myanmar markets, will decide whether to choose Pakistan or Myanmar (or both) to purchase the 100,000 MT rice. Whether it is finally supplied by one or both countries, the purchase shall be at Government to Government levels.”
More than 50% of this 100,000 MT rice would be par-boiled (Nadu) variety with the rest in white raw, and samba.
According to the ministry, Sri Lanka is also purchasing another 100,000 MT rice from India immediately. This is not at Government to Government levels but from the Indian private sector (Government to private sector). Tenders from Indian private suppliers are being received and the winning Indian supplier is expected to be picked by 17 July. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has also commenced Government to Government rice purchase talks with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce this week. These talks are conducted to procure ‘stand-by’ buffer rice stocks for any future emergencies and not for immediate use (as done with India, Pakistan and Myanmar). A Sri Lankan team of officials is scheduled to fly to Bangkok next week to meet Thai officials and decide on varieties, possibly around 100,000 MT of rice which will include par-boiled (Nadu), white raw, and samba.