HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The government has lifted the four-year-old ban on rice exports.
The ministry took the decision of exporting 10,000 metric tonnes of rice to China in the current fiscal year, said secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies Lal Mani Joshi. “The rice will be exported through the Rasuwa and Tatopani customs points,” Joshi further added.
Earlier, the ministry had proposed about exporting 50,000 metric tonnes of rice to China to caretaker prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who is currently also looking after the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, said Joshi, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture Development gave a green signal for the export of 100,000 metric tonnes of rice due to good harvest in the country this year.
The government took the decision to export rice because the production of rice has substantially increased this year, informed Joshi. “Dozens of companies have already approached the ministry seeking permission to export rice.”
However, it will take some more days to publish the ministerial decision in the gazette, he further added. “The decision will be applicable after the gazette notification and the ministry can formally allow various parties to export rice.”
The ministry will later take the decision on the quantity of rice imports for the next fiscal year, he told The Himalayan Times. The government may take another decision to allow entrepreneurs to export more rice, the ministry said.
Nepal had placed a ban on rice exports in 2008 amid low domestic rice production and the global food crisis.
However, the country had 443,000 tonnes of rice surplus in the fiscal year 2010-11, and another 300,000 metric tonnes of rice in the current fiscal year. “The government cannot take a decision regarding exports in haste since the country’s agriculture production is heavily based on the monsoons,” he said.
The move to lift the ban on rice exports is expected to discourage the smuggling of rice to China, Joshi said.