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15 February, 2018 12:44:17 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 February, 2018 10:29:35 AM

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No fall in rice prices soon

Anisur Rahman Khan
No fall in rice prices soon

Although there no shortage of rice in the country at present, the price of the grain is not likely to come down until the Boro harvest arrives in March-April, say traders.

There’s a large stockpile in the markets and more in the import pipeline, but the damage done by the floods to the crop in the last season is apparently to blame for the price rise, they added.

According to the traders, the markets will continue to remain volatile. Even the coarse varieties will not come below Tk.

40 per kg, they said. However, government officials claimed that the price rise is temporary and farmers will benefit from it.

From July 1 last year until today, letters of credit (LCs) have been opened for the import of 37.5 lakh tonnes of rice and 46 lakh tonnes of wheat under the private sector to stabilise market prices. Already, 21.65 lakh tonnes of rice and 37.90 lakh tonnes of wheat have been imported, the director general of food, Badrul Hasan, told The Independent yesterday.

Earlier, finance minister AMA Muhith, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, and food minister Qamrul Islam had said that the minimum price of coarse rice should be Tk. 40 per kg in the farmers’ interest.

This correspondent visited the city’s Mohammadpur and Mirpur-01 rice markets on Tuesday and found that the coarse variety of rice, Swarna (local), was selling at Tk. 44–46 per kg and its Indian version at Tk. 41-43 per kg. Najirshail was being sold at Tk. 66–68 per kg, Minicate (Rashid) at Tk. 62–65 per kg, Minicate (Dolphin) at Tk. 60-62 per kg, and BR-28 and 29 at Tk. 48–53 per kg in retail markets.

“It’s true that the price of Minicate rice has gone up by at least Tk. 2–3 per kg in the wholesale markets,” admitted Anwarul Alam, owner of Anwar Traders in the Mohammadpur Krishi Market.

Chittaranjan Saha of Bismillah Rice Agency in Mirpur-01 said, “We are now selling a 50-kg bag of Nazirshail at Tk. 3,100, while the wholesale prices of Minicate (Rashid) and Minicate (Dolphin) are Tk. 3,140 and Tk. 2,980 respectively.”

The country’s present food stock is about 13.42 lakh tonnes, Badrul Hasan said. Of the total stock, rice accounts for 9.88 lakh tonnes and wheat for 3.54 tonnes, he added.

Regarding the price rise, he argued that labour costs have gone up; the production cost last year was Tk. 37.02 per kg, and they decided to procure Aman rice this season at Tk. 39 per kg.

Earlier, the government had decided to import 15 lakh tonnes of rice. It has already signed agreements to import 12 lakh tonnes of rice from various countries. Of that, 9.2 lakh tonnes of rice have already reached the country and 2.8 lakh tonnes are waiting to be unloaded, said Badrul Hasan.

He added that private traders had imported 56 lakh tonnes of food grain last year. Of that, rice comprised 1.33 lakh tonnes and wheat, 54 lakh tonnes, he added.

He emphasised that crop production should be sustainable, and the price should be profitable for the farmers.

According to food department sources, the annual demand for food grain is about 3.10 crore tonnes. There was a shortage of 20 lakh tonnes of rice in the last season due to severe floods and flash floods in the ‘haors’ (wetlands) and other parts of the country.

SR

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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