Thimphu: The Indian government has lifted the ban on the import of rice by Bhutan with immediate effect, an agriculture ministry official in the Himalayan country said.
“This is a special gesture towards Bhutan in view of the cordial relations between the two countries,” a ministry official said.The ban is still on for other countries in the region.
The 17 March ban had halted the import of popular rice brands, including BN20, Basmati and boiled rice.
Bhutan imports over 50,000 metric tonnes of rice annually. Its own production is nearly 70,000 tonnes.
At the same time, Bhutan has been exporting about 100 tonnes of red rice to the USA through private export firms.
“We’re not competing with other nations in terms of exports because we have very less to export compared to others,” said the ministry’s policy and planning division head Tenzin Chophel.
He said New Delhi had announced the ban “probably to address the internal food shortage at home and check rising prices brought about by soaring fuel prices”.