Bangladesh’s first rice import tender for this year has fetched the lowest quote from Indian grain exporting firm Bagadiya Brothers Private Ltd with New Delhi’s Kribhco Agri Business Pvt Ltd giving it a tough competition for the bid.

The Raipur-based firm offered parboiled rice at $439.10 a tonne in the 50,000-tonne import tender, while Kribhco Agri, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central cooperative firm KRIBHCO, quoted $444.56. 

There were three other bidders too — Singapore’s AgriCorp International Ptd (offering at $458.53), Birbhum-based Haldar Ventures Limited ($458.91) and another Birbhum-based firm Jaya Baba Bakreswar Rice Mills (489.99).

2022-23’s first tender 

This is the first tender for 2022-23 floated by the Sheikh Hasina Wazed government to import one million tonnes (mt) of rice this year. More tenders are set to follow. As per the tender norms, 60 per cent of the shipments have to be made at Chattogram port and the rest at Mongla port. 

Bagadiya Brothers have already bagged a Bangladesh import tender to supply 50,000 tonnes of wheat. Besides, it has got a G2G deal to ship out one lakh tonnes of parboiled rice to Dhaka.

 As regards Kribhco Agri, which is an arm of the Ministry of Cooperation, it is a new entrant in the global grain trade and has been able to make a mark with competitive quotes.

Bangladesh opened on September 8 the rice import tender that was floated by the Directorate-General of Food, Ministry of Food, Bangladesh. 

G2G deals

The rice import tender comes on the heels of Bangladesh finalising government-to-government deals to import the cereal to meet its domestic demand and check the rise in its prices. 

The tender was floated just before the Wazed government cut the import duty on rice to 5 per cent from 25 per cent. Dhaka has lowered the Customs duty on rice twice this year, first on June 27 from 62.5 per cent and then on August 28. 

Bangladesh has also liberalised rice imports by allowing more private traders to ship in the cereal to build ample stocks to meet domestic demand. It is aimed at curbing surging prices of the foodgrain that have increased by over 10 per cent.

Other pacts

Besides importing one mt through tenders, the Wazed government plans to enter into government-to-government (G2G) deals to ship in another 1-1.2 mt of rice. 

According to trading sources, Bangladesh has struck a G2G deal with Kendriya Bhandar Associates to import 70,000 tonnes of 5 per cent parboiled rice by sea at $443.5 a tonne and 30,000 tonnes by rail at $428.5. The deal is being handled by  Bagadiya Brothers.  

The deal had earlier run into problems but the issues had been sorted out, trade sources said. Dhaka has also entered into a G2G deal with Myanmar to import two lakh tonnes of white rice through AgroCorp at $465.5 a tonne.

The Wazed government had reportedly entered into a G2G deal to import two lakh tonnes of 5 per cent parboiled rice from Thailand at $528 a tonne but it is now facing some problems. In another deal, Dhaka has signed a G2G pact to import 30,000 tonnes of white rice from Vietnam.

Grim food outlook

Bangladesh is facing a grim food situation as its Aush, Aman and Boro crops have been affected by the weather this year. Bangladesh produces 37.5 mt of rice annually with the Aman crop making up nearly 40 per cent of it. 

Even if 10 per cent of the Aman crop is impacted due to a prolonged dry period — similar to what is being witnessed in West Bengal this year, it could result in a huge loss in rice production for Dhaka.

In the global market, Indian 5 per cent broken white rice is quoted $338-342 against $343-347 a tonne on August 29, while Pakistan is offering the cereal at $378-382 ($363-367 on August 29). Thailand’s 5 per cent broken is ruling at $431 and Vietnam’s at $393-397 — both unchanged.

India’s 5 per cent broken parboiled rice is quoted at $378-382, ($368-372), Thailand at $440 ($439) and Pakistan’s unchanged at $398-402.  

Rice prices stabilising

According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the all-India daily average price of rice is currently ₹37.5 a kg against ₹37.81 on August 29. Compared with last month, prices are up by less than 0.5 per cent and 6.38 a year ago. 

As per the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agmarknet portal, the national weighted average modal price (the rate at which most trades take place) is ₹3,015 a quintal compared with ₹3,286 on August 29. Rice prices are stabilising after the Ministry of Agriculture said the drop in the area under paddy had shrunk to six per cent as of September 2.