Govt considers importing rice

The government is considering importing rice, according to Ahmed el-Wakil, head of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce.

In an exclusive statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm, el-Wakil said the Ministry of Trade and Industry is tending toward the idea of allowing the General Authority for Supply Commodities to meet its needs for rice through importing the commodity. He added that the ministry is adopting new mechanisms to provide enough rice, which will be distributed through ration cards in a bid to avoid price rises.

El-Wakil said the new measures will be adopted over the next five years, allowing the supply authority to issue tenders for companies able to import rice, following the pattern of importing wheat.

The price of the imported rice will be subsidized by a fund run by the supply authority, sparing the country an extra burden on its budget.

The price for a ton of unmilled rice has dropped from LE1950 to LE1650, while the price of white rice still stands at LE2800 per ton, according to el-Wakil.

Countries suggested as sources for importing rice include the US, Vietnam and Thailand.

Merchants are not reported to oppose the ministry’s plans, but have asked that imports be limited to unmilled rice in order to keep rice mills running.

Ali Sharaf Eddin, head of the grains chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said the chamber will meet with Hisham Ragab, advisor to the Minister of Trade, to discuss the legal position of those rice mills which have failed to deliver the quantities agreed by the government.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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