Rice prices drop in Dhaka
Prices of rice have eased in Dhaka as the government is trying to exert control on grain markets amidst frustration of farmers over low paddy prices.
bdnews24.com on Friday found rice prices fell by up to Tk 4 per kg in different markets in the capital in a week. The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh or BCB data showed similar figures.
Fine varieties of rice are being sold between Tk 48 and Tk 56 a kg, which were between Tk 52 and Tk 64 a week ago. Coarse varieties are priced between Tk 35 and Tk 56, which were between Tk 33 and Tk 52 last week.
Speaking to the news portal, Mohiuddin Harun, a wholesaler at Mirpur, cited bumper harvest followed by a drop in paddy prices this season as the reason behind the fall in rice prices.
"Especially, prices of new arrivals are very low," he said.
He is selling a sack of 50 kg Miniket rice from Kushtia at Tk 2,100 and BR Atash at Tk 1,650. The prices of these varieties were Tk 2,350 and Tk 1,800 respectively a month ago. Frustrated farmers are racing to make up losses by selling paddy to government at Tk 1,040 per maund (1 maund = 37.42kg) as traders and millers are offering half the price. A government official on Thursday charged a leader of the ruling party's youth front for trying to bar the purchase as the politicians wanted farmers of his choice on the list of sellers.
The government is procuring 1 million tonnes grains, starting from Apr 25 and ending on Aug 31.
The harvest this season is much higher than the government's purchase target and farmers alleged that the government was not buying paddy directly from them, but from millers and traders, who are forcing the farmers to sell at lower prices. The government is planning to export around 1 million tonnes of surplus Boro rice production after meeting the domestic demand, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque had earlier said.
"Unusually" high production has finally spoilt the joy of the farmers, according to the minister.
To dam up the fall in prices by limiting imports, the government raised total duty on rice import to 55 percent from 28 percent.
Bangladesh's private traders imported 303,000 tonnes of rice in the first 10 months of this fiscal year, forcing local farmers to incur "huge losses". The new decision will help protect local farmers from future losses, the government said. -bdnews24.com