Govt to export rice to Philippines

Bangladesh is going to export rice to Philippines and Belgium within a very short time. Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque came up with the revelation emerging out of a ‘successful’ meeting with representatives of Belgian and Philippines companies at his Secretariat office on Monday. The representatives of the two companies, Belgium National Company's Marc Coll and HLWC Philippines's Bangladesh chapter's CEO Samsul A Syed attended the meeting. Among the Bangladesh rice traders Rashid Group's Managing Director Md Rashid and Executive Director Md Zahirul Huq also attended the meeting.

After the meeting, the minister said, “We have fruitful discussion. Rice export to these countries will start soon.” Razzaque said although Bangladesh has the capacity now to export around 10 lakh metric tonnes of rice from its local surplus stock, the Philippines initially want to take only one lakh tonnes. "Initially, we wanted to export two lakh tonnes of rice, although we don't have any problems to export 10 lakh tonnes, because of additional production of around 13 lakh tonnes."

Philippines want to import rice under government-to-government mechanism. They have collected the samples of our rice. They have also visited our rice mills in last few days and expressed their satisfaction on the quality of our rice, he said, adding, "If we can export around five lakh tonnes of rice, it will have an impact on the local price of rice."

“Gradually we will increase our export volume, comparing to other rice export countries our rice is good in quality and fare in price. As a result foreign importers are showing their interest to our rice,” he added. Asked, Rashid Group's Md Rashid told reporters, "It would be better for us as we grow coarse rice and they usually consume. As a result, they will buy coarse rice like 'BR-28' and 'BR-29' from Bangladesh. They can also buy 'Miniket'."

When asked about recent flood, Razzaque said it wouldn't have any impact on exporting rice as Bangladesh has a huge surplus of rice now. Rather, the farmer's will get proper price of their rice due to the export initiatives. The minister said both countries want to import rice under the Government to Government (G2G) agreement. The representative teams have already visited a good number of rice mills in the past few days and collected samples of rice.
Marc Coll said, “We have the samples of different varieties of rice. These varieties of rice are well enough in the sense of quality and price. As the Filipinos like coarse rice, we are looking forward to import rice from Bangladesh.”

“At present we will import one lakh tonnes of rice from the country and rice import will continue in future,” he added. Mentionable recently experts suggested to explore new markets as the neighboring countries like India, Myanmar, Vietnam Thailand are self-sufficiency in rice. They said the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, can be a lucrative target for Bangladesh to export rice. If Bangladesh can convince the UN to export rice to the organisation, it will be a success story for the country, the experts said.