The government of Nepal has written to its counterparts in New Delhi requesting rice, sugar, and paddy after India’s prohibition on rice exports.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted the request to the Indian side last week.

“We have asked the Indian side to provide one million tonnes of paddy, fifty thousand tonnes of sugar, and one hundred thousand tonnes of rice,” Joint Secretary Ram Chandra Tiwari of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies told IANS.

According to Tiwari, after India’s prohibition on rice exports, there has been a psychological fallout among the populace that there would not be enough rice available. To refute this belief, we have asked for supplies of grain and sugar.

On Tuesday, however, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs just got in touch with the Indian side on the request.

Through the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, the request was made.

A few Nepali businessmen began stockpiling rice and paddy in Nepal on the grounds that India had imposed an export ban on non-basmati rice starting on July 20 due to the possibility of El Nino weather disruptions.

Following the announcement of India’s ban, merchants began stockpiling enormous quantities of rice, which caused non-basmati rice prices in Nepal to soar.

Nepal is mostly reliant on imported food, primarily from India, and rice is the main diet there.

An Indian government report states that Nepal purchased the biggest amount of rice ever, 1.4 million tonnes, from India. This included 19,000 tonnes of basmati rice and 1.38 million tonnes of non-basmati rice.

The value of rice imports was $473.43 million, or little more than Rs 60 billion.

Due to India’s strangling of exports, imports of both basmati and non-basmati rice fell precipitously to 812,028 tonnes in 2022–2023.

Retail prices per 25 kg bag increased by Rs 200 to Rs 250 as soon as India halted rice exports, according to Nepali vendors.

It is said that further price increases are anticipated, especially during the holiday season.

Government representatives said that since rice and sugar consumption rises over the holiday season, they are making measures to ensure that food and important items containing sugar are always available. This will prevent shortages in the future for the general population.

The government has made the decision to import food grains and sugar from India in order to lessen any potential crises, since the supply of rice and sugar is running low.

Prior to submitting this request, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Naveen Srivastava was consulted by Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies Ramesh Rijal, who asked him not to put an end to rice exports to Nepal.

In Tiwari’s opinion, the Indian side is favorable.

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