Sri Lanka finds Indian rice tastier than Pakistans

Colombo, Mar 28 | Updated: Mar 30 2008, 04:55am hrs
Sri Lankan traders will import one lakh tonne of rice from India despite Pakistans offer to supply unrestricted quantity of the commodity to the Island country.

"We are grateful to Pakistan to offer rice exports to Sri Lanka. But Sinhala and the ethnic Indians prefer par boiled rice from India rather than raw rice from Pakistan," a spokesman of an apex commodities importing body said.

The Sri Lankan government, on Thursday night, decided to remove custom duty on rice imports to augment domestic supplies in the wake of unprecedented floods in the Eastern and Southern Sri Lanka that has damaged over 15,000 hectares of paddy crop.

"We will soon place the contract for import of one lakh tonne of Ponni Sambha rice from India to meet the demand during Sinhala-Tamils New Year day on April 12-13," K Palaniandy, the president of the Old Moor Street traders association, a large importing body, told PTI.

Earlier this month, India raised the minimum price for non-basmati rice exports to 650 dollars per tonne free-on-board from 500 dollars in a move to slow down overseas sales.

Meanwhile, a team of Pakistani rice exporters are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka to facilitate supplies of the commodity to the Island nation. They are expected to hold meeting with government officials and rice importers in this regard.

Faced with high inflation and increasing prices of rice, the Sri Lankan government is trying to mobilise enough stocks to keep prices under check.

Meanwhile, Palaniandy said he was concerned over reports that India would further raise the floor price for non-basmati rice exports. Sri Lanka imported 70,000 tonne of rice from India in 2007.

PTI