Friday, June 21, 2024

Nepal Seeks Rice, Sugar Supplies From India To Avoid Possible Food Scarcity During Festive Season – N.F Times

Kathmandu: The Nepal government has requested supplies of paddy, rice, and sugar from the Indian government as a precautionary measure to address possible food shortages during the upcoming festive season.

According to a senior government official in Kathmandu, the request was made through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week, reported PTI.

Nepal’s Commerce and Supplies Ministry Joint Secretary Ram Chandra Tiwari said, “Nepal has requested India to provide one million tonnes of paddy, 100,000 tonnes of rice, and 50,000 tonnes of sugar”

According to Tiwari, while there is no immediate scarcity of rice and sugar in the market, concerns have arisen due to rumors of potential shortages linked to India’s ban on non-basmati white rice exports. The Nepal government has requested India’s assistance in supplying these food products to pre-emptively address this concern.

As per the report, Nepal is heavily dependent on imported food, mostly from India. Nepal’s festive season, spanning October to November, could face elevated rice and sugar prices if measures to ensure consistent supply aren’t effectively enacted. Analysts have expressed concerns about the potential for traders to engage in hoarding, which could lead to price hikes as the festive season approaches, the report said.

As per the report, in the period from April 2021 to March 22, Nepal’s rice imports, reached an unprecedented high of 1.4 million tonnes, encompassing 1.38 million tonnes of non-basmati and 19,000 tonnes of basmati rice, sourced primarily from India.

In India, the government decided to ban non-basmati white rice exports on July 20 to check domestic supply and control retail prices, which could also be affected during the festive season. Non-basmati white rice constitutes around a quarter of India’s total rice exports, the report stated.

Several news reports have indicated that India banning food grain exports to control domestic prices could lead to a shortage in the global market and consequently increase the price.

Following India’s ban of rice exports, Nepal observed an immediate surge in retail prices by NRs 200 to NRs 250 per 25-kg bag. These prices are anticipated to rise further, particularly during the festive season, according to the report.

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