Rice traders warn of empty shelves

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Rice traders warn of empty shelves
By Saifur Rahman, Business Editor GULF NEWS Published: April 03, 2008, 00:05

Dubai: Rice shelves in the UAE’s supermarkets might become empty within six weeks, if the government fails to intervene soon, traders said on Wednesday.

“The market price of the top quality super cornell rice is Dh200-210, however, the government has fixed it at Dh140, which makes it uneconomic for us to import,” said a member of Foodstuff Trading Group which represents the trade, requesting anonymity.

“We want the UAE government to match the market price or subsidise. Otherwise, importers will stop buying it. As it is, the flow of import has reduced significantly and the current stock could last six weeks at best.”

Food price inflation has already replaced the list of other public worries, including house rents and traffic earlier this year. Traders warned, if the current situation is bad, then the worst is yet to come.

Pakistan has already stopped exporting basmati rice to the UAE due to the price control. Indian government is planning to top up the ban on non-basmati rice with cheaper version of the staple food, which will adversely impact the Gulf consumers, most of whom depend on these varieties of rice.