Dhaka: India has restarted export of rice to Bangladesh, in tune with a promise made by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to the cyclone-affected areas of the country last year.
“Under the agreement, 120,674 tonnes of rice were received earlier while another 65,631 tonnes reached the Chittagong Port and is now being unloaded,” a food ministry official said.
“Five more ships are expected to carry the rest of the quantum to reach Bangladesh very soon,” he added.
The first emergency consignment of rice from India arrived in March this year, the official said.
Mukherjee, while visiting the cyclone battered areas in southwestern coastline in October last year had promised to export 500,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh relaxing an earlier ban.
A treaty was signed between the two countries for import of the rice through five Indian state-run commercial agencies after finalisation of the modalities.
The food ministry officials said the imported rice would be used to develop a “food safety net” through distribution in official channels.
Production shortfalls caused by subsequent floods and the devastating cyclone and soaring food price in view of a global deficit exposed Bangladesh to a severe crisis earlier this year forcing the interim government to launch a desperate import campaign.