Govt yet to start rice procurement drive in C’ Bazar
COX'S BAZAR, Jan 13: The government is yet to start sunned Aman rice procurement drive in the district. As a result, around two lakh farmers are frustrated.
Though the local farmers produced more Aman this year than the previous year, they are frustrated as the government is not still buying the rice from them. But, the government is buying the parboiled Aman rice at fair price in other parts of the country.
Local Food Department sources said the government has decided to purchase three lakh metric tons of parboiled Aman rice from the country this season at Tk 39 per kg. The rice collection started from December 3 last year and will continue till February 28 of this year.
As the government has not fixed any target to collect sunned Aman rice, the entire Chittagong region where sunned rice is mainly produced will remain out of the procurement drive. The government is not collecting any rice from Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Feni districts under the region. But, the government has a target to collect only 26 metric tons of rice from Fatikchhari Upazila in Chittagong.
Sources said there is no mill of parboiled rice in southern Chittagong region. The people of the region are not used to take parboiled rice. Though sunned rice was collected in the past, it has been kept outside the collection target this year. As a result, the farmers have expressed anger and frustration.
Eminent farm owner of Ramu Upazila in Cox's Bazar District and Vice-President of Cox's Bazar People's Forum freedom fighter Mozaffar Ahmed said, "The farmers here achieved bumper yield of Aman this year. The government is also buying rice at fair price but if the southern Chittagong region is kept outside the collection target, the local farmers will be deprived. If the food department would collect rice, the mill owners would purchase rice from the farmers, and they would have been benefitted."
Sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension in Cox's Bazar said, "The Aman paddy was cultivated on 78,065 hectares of land in the district this season. Though the production target was 2,09,578 metric tons, the target was exceeded and 2,27,959 metric tons of paddy was produced which is 10,740 metric tons more than the previous year. This year around 1.70 lakh farmers were involved in producing the paddy."
While asked, District Food Controller SM Tahsinul Haque said as the government has no target to collect sunned Aman rice; so they are not collecting the rice here.
While asked, Chittagong Regional Food Controller Md Mahbubur Rahman said, "We are collecting parboiled rice across the country. But, due to lack of any parboiled rice mill in the southern Chittagong region, we are not collecting the sunned Aman rice from here. Mentioning the matter, we have sent letter to the higher authority."