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India agrees to supply rice to Sri Lanka

world Updated: Apr 03, 2008 14:47 IST

PTI
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Heeding to Sri Lanka's appeal, India has agreed to supply one lakh tonnes of rice to the island nation on the back of a ban imposed by it on exports of non-basmati rice to curb rising inflation.

"We are very happy. We also want to thank Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who took up the matter with India and they have agreed to supply one lakh tonnes of rice immediately," a leading importing body Old Moor Street Traders Association President K Palaniandy told PTI.

Over 15,000 hectare of paddy crop in Sri Lanka were damaged following unprecedented floods in the island nation.

The apex body for import of essential commodities here had written to Sri Lankan President urging him to impress upon New Delhi in facilitating import of the grain.

Sri Lanka imported over 70,000 tonnes of rice from India in 2007.

The Sri Lankan government has also appealed to Pakistan and Myanmar for rice supplies to the island nation.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Trade Marketing and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardene said despite the recently imposed ban on export of non-basmati rice to address the problem of inflation in India, New Delhi has agreed to provide stocks of rice.

According to experts, the demand for food and other requirements have gone up in India and China due to improvement in living standards of low income families in these countries.

This could also be one of the reasons for higher offtake of essential commodities, thereby widening the demand supply mismatch, it is felt.

In November 2007, India acceded to the request of Rajapaksa and supplied 6,000 tonnes of rice on an urgent basis to help the island nation control spiraling prices.