Government Lacks Sufficient Stock of Food Grains

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Government Lacks Sufficient Stock of Food Grains

February 27: Rice production in Nepal increased by 4.33 percent this year compared to the previous fiscal year, according to government data. Farmers across the country produced 57,24,234 metric tons of rice this year. Ironically, when the country set an all-time high record in rice production this year, the government’s warehouses have insufficient amount of food stored for contingency

As per the existing regulations, the government must have a stock of 33,000 metric tons of food grains for immediate supply in the event of a food crisis that might occur due to natural calamities or any other reasons. However, the state-owned Food Management and Trading Company (FMTC) Limited currently has only about 8,000 metric tons of food in stock. The FMTC does not have adequate stock of food grains as it failed to purchase paddy and rice according to its target.

This year, FMTC had set a target of purchasing 50,200 metric tons of rice. The government had allocated a budget of Rs 1.74 billion for this purpose. Even though the FMTC started purchasing paddy on time, it has only managed to buy about 5,000 metric tons as of mid-February this year.

FMTC has also failed to purchase rice as per its target. As a result, there has been a further decline in the food stock, the company said. According to the chief executive officer of the company, Mohan Prakash Chand, the company issued separate tender bids to purchase 29,000 and 20,000 metric tons of rice after it was unable to purchase rice as per the target.

However, no one responded to the tender. Chand argued that no one came to participate in the tender due to India's ban on rice exports.

According to a businessmen, importers are not interested in the tender bids called by the FMTC as the price of rice will become expensive due to India's restrictions on rice exports.

“We would have responded to the tender if it was possible to import rice from India without any hindrance,” he said.

The government had started the process of importing 1 million metric tons of paddy and 1 million metric tons of rice from India last July. “India agreed to supply only 95,000 metric tons of rice," says the businessman, "Even if we participate in the tender, we will be importing rice under the same quota. Of late, India has been changing its export policy frequently. How can we participate in the tender in such a situation?”



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