Bangladesh floats tenders for 100,000 tonnes of wheat and rice


DHAKA: Bangladesh’s state grains buyer issued two tenders on Sunday to import 50,000 tonnes of wheat and 50,000 tonnes of white rice as part of an effort to ensure food security and keep prices stable. The last date of submission of offers for both tenders is December 26 and the grains are to be shipped within 40 days after the signing of deals, a food official said.
The government plans to import 750,000 tonnes of wheat and 600,000 tonnes of rice in the year to June 2011 to shore up stocks that now stand at 760,000 tonnes, well below the target of 1.5 million tonnes. “Ships with 150,000 tonnes of wheat and 25,000 tonnes of rice imported by the government are waiting at the port and will be unloaded soon, that will add to the existing stocks,” another food official said.
The government imported nearly 550,000 tonnes of grains in the previous year. But shortfalls in the local procurement drive forced the government to import food at increasingly high costs.
Wheat scaled a four-month high last week as weather problems in Australia and the United States threaten global supply while prices of the benchmark rice has risen 26 percent from this year’s low in July. Food prices, including rice, have risen about 50 percent in the Bangladesh’s domestic market in the past year, forcing the government to resume sales from its reserves at a subsidised rate and expand social safety net programmes. The government fears unrest if prices keep going up. Around 38 percent of its population survives on less than one dollar a day.