Following a first round assessment, the Government has shortlisted Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Myanmar as potential sources for imports of up to 100,000 MT of rice, the Industry and Commerce Ministry said yesterday.
A team of technical officials which included food technologists from Sri Lanka is expected to visit these countries and test rice samples.
“We have decided to test rice samples of Indonesia, Myanmar and Pakistan,” Minister Bathiudeen was quoted as saying in the statement.
“A team of technical officials will visit these countries and test rice samples after which we will decide on the final supplier from Colombo. We are looking to bring 100,000 MT of par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba from the chosen supplier. This will be the Government to Government procurement.”
The Government is also in talks to purchase an additional 100,000 MT of rice from India.
“If necessary we are open to private sector support in the supplier countries as well. The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under me will be the focal point for this effort on the directions of President Maithripala Sirisena,” Bathiudeen said.
Last month Minister Bathiudeen had discussions with the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of several countries to decide on rice purchases.
Production of rice, the country’s staple food, is forecast to drop almost 40% to 2.7 million tonnes in 2017, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) warned in a report last month.
It also predicted that the second ‘Yala’ 2017 rice paddy harvest is expected to be at least 24% lower than 2016.