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Grain cart upset, Nepal approaches India/As grain ban starts to bite, Nepal approaches India

Grain cart upset, Nepal approaches India/As grain ban starts to bite, Nepal approaches India

Not so long ago, the government of Nepal advised the people not to opt for panic buying of grains, stating that there was enough grain stock to outlast the upcoming harvest season. 

But the ‘comfortable situation’ appears to have changed all of a sudden.  

Recently, the government of Nepal wrote to India asking for 155,000 tons of grains and sugar, stating that India's global ban on grain export may affect Nepal too.

Spokesperson at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Radhika Aryal, confirmed that the government had written to the Indian government asking for the supply of 100,000 tons of rice, 50,000 tons of sugar and 5,000 tons of paddy.

“The letter has been sent to the Embassy of India in Nepal via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but the official reply from the Indian government has not been received yet,” said Aryal.

India has imposed a ban on the export of non-Basmati rice across the globe despite objections from the international community. The export policy of non-Basmati white rice, semi milled or wholly milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed, is amended from “free to prohibited,” reads a notice from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.

The price of rice, Nepal’s staple food, has been escalating in the domestic market right after India announced a global ban on the export of all varieties of rice, save the Basmati. The Indian ban came after Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Deal in the midst of the Ukraine war, straining a war-hit supply system and aggravating the global food crisis.

The export will be allowed on the basis of permission granted by the Indian government to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of their government.

Before this move, the government had been saying that there was enough gain stock to last three months after which a new harvest season will begin. Despite the government’s assurance, panic buying has been going unabated and the traders have been making hay. As for sugar, the government has said domestic production was not enough to meet the demand.