MCI expects Gov’t to approve draft subsidy to normalize rice prices in TL

MCI expects Gov’t to approve draft subsidy to normalize rice prices in TL

The Minister of Commerce and Industry (MCI), Filipus Nino Perreira (Photo Tatoli)

DILI, 18 september 2023 (TATOLI)- The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Expected the Government will approve a law providing subsidies for rice importers to normalize rice prices in Timor-Leste.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Filipus Nino Pereira said MCI had made efforts to provide several steps including in the draft subsidy to be presented to the Council of Ministers: “We hope that the decree-law will be approved next week,” Pereira told Tatoli on Monday.

While waiting for the approval, MCI introduced a subsidy amount for rice importers in Timor-Leste for around $5 to $7 to be commercialized at the amount of $10.

Pereira added that another standard that will be applied is providing the relative price of local rice.

“We have visited the NLC and currently there are more than 2,149 tons of local rice available, so we do not have enough to meet national consumption but for this time MCI will prioritize the commercialization of local rice in the domestic market.”

Timor Leste has a population of around 1.3 million people. Based on data recorded by MAF, Timor Leste annually consumes more than 131,000 tons of rice, while local rice production in a recent year reached 86,000 tons, this number has not met the target.

With this limited production amount, the Government signed agreements with Vietnam, Cambodia, and India to import rice for Timor-Leste.

After the agreement was signed every year Timor Leste continued to import 135,000 tons of rice from abroad to support domestic consumption.

However, recently the price of rice has soared due to the climatic conditions that have hit importing countries, particularly India which is known as the world’s largest rice exporter, accounting for more than 40% of global shipments. After heavy rains hit Indian domestic crops, the Indian Government introduced on july 20 an immediate ban that would stop exporting white rice export to curb domestic inflation.

Following this situation, the Deputy Minister of Trade Industry, also previously stated that MCI will seek to grant government-to-government (G2G) approval to continue request rice quotas from India:”Government have to find solutions to ensure rice is sufficient to meet national consumption target.”

Trindade also added that, MCI will make an emergency visit to the National Logistics Center (NLC) to identify the total local rice needs for the next six months in 2023, without importing rice from abroad.

“So far, we have relied more on national importers to procure rice from India to meet national consumption needs from August to December 2023, and the government will look for other alternatives by increasing local rice to meet national consumption,” he said.

Meanwhile, ‘KREATIVU FURAK’ supplier manager, Yati Zaka, said that KREATIVU FURAK had purchased 848 sacks of rice (21,000 tonnes of rice) from India and was still in the process of being shipped to Timor-Leste.

“The price of rice always changes and depends on the situation, so for 21,000 tons of rice we bought a tonne for around USD 490-520. We continue to import rice to ensure stock is available to meet national market demand. But we will not guarantee a normal price because it depends on international prices,” She said.

In addition, the ALFA Dili Company is currently transporting more than 200 containers from India to Timor-Leste, while PERISOS is also procuring 7,500 tons of rice from India to Timor-Leste.

The four main suppliers are PERISSOS, LISUN, ALFA DILI, and KREATIVU FURAK.


Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá

Editor: Nelia B.


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