Thailand’s Commerce Ministry had signed an amended Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Bangladesh, extending an agreement on sales of Thai rice.
The existing MoU requires Bangladesh to import up to one million tonnes of parboiled rice from Thailand from last year to this year. The change will extend the deadline to import the rice to 2016.
Bangladesh Minister for Food, Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said the latest MoU will ensure food security for his country. He admitted that whether Bangladesh imports Thai rice this year depends on its own rice production and whether a natural disaster makes it necessary. Bangladesh has a population around 160 million people who each year eat about 35 million tonnes of milled rice. The country produces about 38 million tonnes a year.
If Bangladesh faces a food crisis, Thailand will be the first priority when the Bangladesh government considers where to buy rice, even though Thai rice costs more than its competitors, because Thailand has a good relationship with the Bangladesh government.
In 2011, Bangladesh had to import two million tonnes of rice because of natural disasters. When this happens, the country normally buys rice from Thailand, Vietnam and India.