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Rice price soars despite start of Aman harvest

Published : Thursday, 7 December, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 752
Mizanur Rahman

Price of rice has increased by Tk 2 to Tk 3 despite the start of Aman harvest across the country.
Several consumers claim that a syndicate has created an artificial scarcity of the staple item in the markets, a survey reveals.
Some dishonest businessmen are behind the artificial crisis of paddy in the market. They are purchasing paddy straight from the farmers while cashing in on the situation.
However, the former General Secretary of Dinajpur Rice Mills Owner Group Shohidur Rahman Mohon Patowary told the Daily Observer, "There isn't any syndicate involved in hiking the price artificially. Paddy prices are high since huge amount of paddy in the Haor area was damaged due to flash-floods. Also, paddy production has not met the desired target this year.
The price of rice has decreased a little due to increased paddy supply. The rice market has become unsteady in the northern district of Dinajpur with a sudden surge in price of the food grain after remaining stable for a long time, he added.
 "Some new rice came to the market, but there is no reason to hike the rice price in this situation", AKM Khorshed Alam, President of the Bangladesh Auto Rice Mill Owners Association told this correspondent.
He said the paddy price is varying between Tk 700 and Tk 750 per mound (40kg) in the local market. As a result, the price of rice may go up to Tk 45. But now the market is selling rice at Tk 65 to Tk 66.
Also, soaring paddy prices, high import cost and lack of market monitoring may shoot up the rice price in the local markets, traders have hinted.
They said prices are increasing because of high prices of paddy and lack of government surveillance.
Mohosin Ali, manager of a rice agency at Rayer Bazar Kithcen Market at Dhanmondhi told the Daily Observer, "The prices of rice went up by around Tk 50 to Tk 100 per 50 kg sack this week due to hike in prices of paddy."
He is selling one sack of Miniket rice between Tk 2,800 to Tk 2,950, Najirshile from Tk 2,900 to Tk 2,950 and BR-28 (local) from Tk 2,580 to Tk 2,600.
Coarse rice is being sold at Tk 2,350 to Tk 2,400 per sack while the price of BR-28 rice, processed in auto mills, is being sold at Tk 2,500 to Tk 2,650.
Anisur Rahman, a rice trader at the capital's Karwan Bazar  Kitchen Market area told this correspondent, the prices of rice hike in the last 7-12 days has happened because of increased paddy prices.
"Millers said rice prices would go up slightly. They are raising the prices because of hike in paddy prices," he added.
When visiting different kitchen markets in the capital, this correspondent found, Miniket was sold at Tk 62 per kg, Kajol Lata at TK 60 and Atash at Tk 46. The price of fine rice exceeded by Tk 65 per kg which was normally below Tk 45 the corresponding period in previous years.
BR-28, a medium quality rice, is being sold between Tk 57 and Tk 58 while coarse rice is being sold between Tk 48 and Tk 50.
In comparison to the corresponding period of last year, this year the price of fine rice increased by Tk 15 to Tk 20 per kg while coarse rice by Tk 13.
Kabir Hossain, a rickshaw puller, said he is facing problems in purchasing rice from the market. SM Nazer Hossain, Vice-President of the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) told the Daily Observer, "The rice millers have been making huge profits but the farmers and consumers are being deprived."
He also said that the government should monitor the rice markets properly as the millers have been increasing rice price irrationally.
Though the rice price has incresed but the farmers are not being the beneficiary since the millers have been purchasing rice at a lower rate than a fair price.
The Millers are making profit from their stored rice, he added.
Meanwhile, the government will collect 300,000 tonnes of rice at the rate of Tk 39 per kilogram from the domestic market during the ongoing season of Aman crop.
The government procurement starts on Dec 3 and continue throughout the country until Feb 28 next year, Food Minister Qamrul Islam said.  
According to him, the farmers spent Tk 37.2 to produce one kg of Aman crop in this season.  
The government purchased 300,000 tonnes of rice from the domestic market at Tk 33 per kg last year. The production cost was Tk 29 per kg at the time, it said.

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