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Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (left) meets his top officials including Ministry Secretary Chinthana Lokuhetti (second from left) on July 31 at Ministry of Industry office

Sri Lanka, having concluded international ‘rice talks’ successfully, began finalising the MoUs on Monday 3 July to proceed with the orders. Altogether the country expects to yield a month’s supply of fresh rice tranche by the initiatives.

“My officials are now working on two MoUs-Thailand and Myanmar. These will be finalised and submitted to these countries as soon as possible. Our government-to-government level rice call a success,” Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.  Accordingly, an MoU is being drawn by Bathiudeen’s Ministry to import 100,000 MT of par boiled (Nadu) rice and another 25,000 MT white raw rice from Thailand. Another MoU is being drawn to import 30,000 MT of white raw rice from Myanmar.

Both these Memorandams of Understanding are at Government to Government level. Another rice call on Government to Foreign Private Sector, with Indian suppliers is being worked and prices being negotiated for a huge 100,000 MT par boiled (Nadu) rice, and is expected to be clinched at any time.

Meanwhile, Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad Khan Sipra during his meeting with Minister Bathiudeen on 31 July informed Minister Bathiudeen to wait for Pakistani Govt-to-Govt supplies till September as the current prices in Pakistan are too high for Sri Lankan market-around $480 per MT. By September the prices are expected to fall to $400-410 range so that Sri Lanka can start placing the orders.