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Govt to buy additional 2.5 lakh tonnes of paddy from farmers

Published : Wednesday, 12 June, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 694

Finally, the government has decided to buy additional 2.5 lakh metric tonnes of Boro paddy from the farmers directly.
With the decision, the limit of Boro paddy procurement will stand at total 4.0 lakh tones.
The ministries of food and agriculture have jointly taken the decision with the approval of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The announcement of buying the additional paddy was given in a press briefing held on Tuesday in the Food Ministry conference room.
Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque and Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder briefed media about the decision of the government to buy paddy further from the farmers.
According to the government decision, the additional 2.5 lakh tonnes of paddy would also be bought at Tk 26 per kilogram from the farmers directly.
Buying from the farmers, the Directorate General of Food (DG Food) authority will store the paddy in its warehouses. Later, the paddy will be crashed by the millers and the rice will be kept in the warehouses.
In April, the Food Ministry gave an announcement of buying 12 lakh tonnes of husked rice and 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy directly from      local production to give the farmers incentives for their products.
The price of rice was set at Tk 36 per kilogram while the paddy price was set at Tk 26 per kg.
According to the Food Ministry data, the DG Food authority could buy around 3.44 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice, 29,052 tonnes of Atap rice and 27,652 tonnes of paddy from the farmers till Monday (June 10).
Although the government has been giving emphasis on buying paddy from the farmers, the millers are interested to supply rice quickly.
In this situation, the ministry is giving emphasis on buying additional paddy from the farmers and increasing its paddy stock.
So, the DG Food officials and rice millers have already been given directives to buy paddy from the farmers.
The officials were also asked to go to the farmers to collect paddy with the government set prices. If necessary, they will stop receiving rice from the millers until the procurement of paddy is completed, said Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder.
He said they - the Food Minister and the Agriculture Minister - met the Prime Minister on Monday. They informed her about their plan to export rice and buy additional paddy from the farmers. The Premier gave her consent in this regards.
"She asked us to ensure increase of paddy and rice price immediately. She instructed us to buy more paddies from farmers and husk the paddy later to make rice for its stock. The decision was taken following the Premiers instruction," he added.
The government doesn't have adequate spaces in the warehouses. The government warehouses are now preserving around 14 lakh tonnes of food grain against its total capacity of only 20 lakh tonnes.
"In this situation, we are planning to establish a total of 200 silos in the country. Each of the silos has the capacity of 5000 tonnes.
The government usually preserves food grain to ensure its supply during crucial periods, giving necessary food supports through VGF and VGD programmes under its social safety net programmes and ensuring rationing programme for different services of the government including armed forces, police, RAB and others, he said.
From now onwards, the government will buy rice and paddy to enhance its stock. The food grain stock will help the government tackle emergencies during any kind of disaster, he added.
"If there is no natural calamity the additional stocks will be exported to different countries," he added.
He said they could buy around 30,000 tonnes of paddy against its procurement plan of 1.5 lakh tonnes. The rest of 1.2 lakh tonnes of paddy would be bought directly from the farmers. At the same time, they will buy additional 2.5 lakh tonnes of paddy.
Elaborating the government planning to save the farmers, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said it's hard for the government to provide direct cash supports to the farmers as all farmers are facing loss due to low price of paddy and rice.  The cash supports can only be given to small farmers.
Regarding rice export, he said the Commerce Minister is working on the issue. He has already started talking with different countries and the World Food Programme of the United Nations for buying rice for Bangladesh.
They have responded positively to buy rice from Bangladesh at fair price.

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