B’desh open to dedicated mechanism for rice seed trade with India

The Statesman, April 19, 2013
Bangladesh is open to developing a dedicated mechanism for trading in rice seeds with India, Mohammed Moshiul Alam, assistant chief of the Bangladesh Tariff Commission, said at an event organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) in Kolkata today.

Establishing a dedicated rice seed trade mechanism with Bangladesh will place India in a direct competition with China, as Bangladesh seed market, at present, is predominated by the Mandarins. Despite being an immediate neighbour, India so far has failed to penetrate the large rice seed market of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is one of the major importers of rice seeds importing about 350 thousand metric tons of rice annually and recorded an estimated market size of 5.9 million US dollar in 2011-12, which according to the Bangladesh delegates is likely to grow in the coming years.

“Bangladesh levies zero duty on import of rice seed. Our priority is to ensure our farmers get the benefit of high-yielding varieties of rice. For this, we are open to developing a dedicated and focused trade channel with India as we expect it to be more cost effective than China,” said Mr Alam. At present, an informal rice seed trade flourishes across the India-Bangladesh border, but this is prone to fluctuating supplies.

“Once a formal trading channel is established under the patronage of the governments of both the countries, such barriers can be crossed very easily,” said Ms Adida Islam, the deputy high commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata.

“To enhance trade relations as far as rice seeds are concerned, India must emphasise both on the price factor and yield,” Mr Alam said.

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