Cheap rice offer confusing for shoppers

Some shoppers have been surprised by the need to show their Kholasat Al Qaid, a "family book" that proves citizenship.

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DUBAI // A project offering discounted rice to Emirati families in Dubai and the Northern Emirates during Ramadan has confused some shoppers.

As part of the initiative, ordered by Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, as a way of helping families during the traditionally expensive season, the Union Co-Operative supermarket is selling 40kg bags of Basmati rice to Emiratis for Dh120. A 10kg bag of cheap Basmati rice would usually cost around Dh62.

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But some shoppers have been surprised by the need to show their Kholasat Al Qaid, a "family book" that proves citizenship, to redeem a coupon for the rice. The coupon can be redeemed only in the emirate where the Emirati is registered.

"I heard about it and my confusion was over where I could go to get it, and for how long," said AHB, a 26-year-old Emirati who lives in a household of 10.

Organisers yesterday explained that the President had asked his humanitarian foundation to distribute 325,000 bags across Dubai and the Northern Emirates. That number was based on the number of families in each emirate. 95,492 bags of rice were sent to Dubai, 93,852 to Sharjah, 22,937 to Ajman, 64,082 to Ras Al Khaimah, 10,131 to Umm Al Qaiwain and 38,506 to Fujairah.

Ibrahim Al Bahr, the deputy general manager of Union Co-Operative, said: "Emiratis come in with the family book and we put the details in the system, then give them a coupon with the number of bags they can buy."

A family of two receives one bag, a family of three to six can get two bags, and those with seven to 10 members are allowed three bags.