The Government has launched an open international tender to import a fresh tranche of rice, which is the first such call in recent times to be issued to suppliers worldwide after a severe 50% shortfall in the rice harvest because of the ongoing drought in the country.
“We are making every effort to ensure that there will be no shortages for our consumers,” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was quoted as saying in a statement released by his office.
“Under the directions of the government’s Cost of Living Committee (CoLC), we announced on 13 October that we will import 500,000 MT of rice. The aim of CoLC is to support our consumers with the lowest prices and give steady supplies,” he added.
The 500,000 MT announced on 13 October was mostly on a government-to-government rice procurement basis. However, the latest tender, which is also 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 is 90,000 MT of Parboiled Nadu rice, 60,000 MT of Samba (Parboiled) rice and 50,000 MT of White Raw rice. Sri Lankan rice importers too are eligible to take part in the latest bidding. Of the 200,000 MT of rice called for, Sri Lanka expects 100,000 MT to arrive in Colombo by end November 2017 and the other 100,000 MT to arrive by end December 2017.
The tender will close on 30 October. Details of this tender call are now available online for download at http://www.industry.gov.lk/web/images/procurice.pdf
Based on assessments of rice supply capacities in many world markets at October 2017, the potential supply sources for the latest 200,000 MT of rice are India, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam ,though other destinations too could be partnered, the Ministry said.
The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) which functions under Minister Bathiudeen and will take delivery of imports, has called for the latest international tenders and eligible bidders may obtain further information from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on weekdays until 30 October from the Procurement Unit of the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment, No. 27, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2 (or from the above online location which specifies required documents for submission to take part in the tender).
A bid security of Rs. 2 million (approximately $ 13,000) or 0.1% of the total cost of the tender, whichever is lower, and 1 kg sample pack in each rice variety, needs to be submitted. Late bids will be rejected. The decision of the procurement committee will be final. Even though the called amount is 200,000 MT, new rice volumes will be tendered if market conditions call for more low-priced rice from abroad.
The first 8,890 MT (of 100,000 MT) of raw Nadu rice from India that has been brought into the Colombo Port by such container vessels as Charles Schultz and Vladivostock 12 in mid-October has now been offloaded and is being transported to CWE warehouses.
According to Minister Bathiudeen and his officials, the domestic Lankan rice market has faced supply pressures as three consecutive harvesting seasons (2016 and 2016/2017) failed to produce usual paddy volumes resulting in a 50% fall in domestic rice supply this year, thereby necessitating imports to the country to sustain the market.