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Rice Prices Soar In Covalima As Poor Roads Effect Transport

Rice Prices Soar In Covalima As Poor Roads Effect Transport Featured

DILI: The cost of rice is forecast to continue to rise in some rural areas after the effects of heavy rain has cut transport of basic goods pushing up prices by 30%.

A price of a 25-kilogram bag of rice in market stores across Covalima was selling for $17 to $20 on Friday, up from $12 year on year.

Recent heavy rain has damaged roads in Mau Katar, Fatu Lulik, and Fohorem, stopping heavy vehicles carrying goods accessing parts of Covalima.

In an address in parliament on Monday, Alexandrino Cardosa, of the Fretilin party, said many people in Covalima were concerned about food security.

He called on the government to fix the damaged roads.

The call comes almost a month since the  Ministry of Social Solidarity said it had made available 900 tonnes of subsidised rice for rice-growing farming families in districts where crops were destroyed last year.

Under the plan the government said it would l sell 25-kilogram bags of rice for $11 to families in Viqueque, Baucau and Lautem.

At the time, a 25-kilogram bag of rice in Timor-Leste had increased from $12 in 2018, to up to $18.

Agusto Junior Trindade, the Director of the National Logistics Centre, told the Independente that rice prices had increased by 20-50 per cent across Timor-Leste on the back of low local supply volume.

Trindade said 626 tonnes of rice had been imported from Vietnam to increase supply.

Trinidad said farmers seeking to buy the subsidised rice should contact their village chief.

In 2017 and 2018 the level of imported cereals reached the record high level of 190,000 tonnes in Timor-Leste, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

Timor-Leste remains heavily dependent on imported cereals to meets its consumption needs.

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