After 20 years, India mulls importing rice

After a gap of 20 years, India is mulling importing rice from Thailand and Vietnam through diplomatic deals according to trade minister, Anand Sharma.

Sharma said the federal government would also consider a ban of export of cotton to shore up domestic market supplies.

Three state-run trading firms last month, floated tenders for rice imports totaling 30,000 tonnes for which they received 18 bids ranging from $373 to $599 per tonne.

Of the three, MMTC Ltd found the quoted prices too steep.

Sharma said there were various possibilities and the government was exploring the option of government-to-government deals.

Sharma added that a panel of ministers would meet on 20 November to decide on the bids received for the rice import tenders of State Trading Corp of India (STC), MMTC Ltd and PEC Ltd.

Officials said bids for supply of rice to PEC would be valid until 23 November but the validity of the bids received by STC and MMTC expired on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.