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Rice price hike hits consumers following onion crisis  

Published : Sunday, 17 November, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 148

Rice prices, the major staple increased by Tk 5 to 6 in city's kitchen markets over the           week-end for no visible reason at a time when the record rise of onion prices has left the market in total disarray.  
Big traders blame cyclonic weather early this week for the rise in rice prices, although it evidently didn't cause big disruption in transportation, except damaging crops at some places in the coastal districts.  
Traders are blaming rice millers, who are powerful and many of them are MPs holding        control over the market for the sudden rise in whole sale price at the end crop season. They are forcing whole sellers to buy at higher price to pass the higher cost to retailers and then on end buyers.
Some trading circles tend to pass the rise in rice price to shortfall in the government stock at a time stock at farmers households has also run short ahead of Aman harvest season. But evidently the government has a healthy stock in which weather had nothing to do to create a supply crisis so quickly.  
A recent meeting on government food grains storage in October estimated found government  stocks in silos stood at 16.53 lakh tonnes of rice. The latest updates shows the stock position is 12.83 lakh tones to dismiss any supply shortfall at national level.
On November 6, BR-28 sold at Tk 1500 for per 50 kg sack, Minicat quality sold 1900 for per    50 kg sack, Basmati sold at Tk 3,000 and Nazirshail at Tk 2800. Now per sack rice is being sold at Tk 400 to Tk 600 more over a difference of small time, although nothing      significant happened to escalate the price.  
While visiting different city kitchen market on Saturday this Correspondent found price has increased by Tk 4 to 6 per kg depending on quality. Coarse rice was selling for Tk 40 to Tk 42 per while BR-28 rice was retailing at Tk 45 to Tk 50 a kg in the city markets Saturday. Miniket fine variety was selling at Tk 58 to Tk 65 per kg while its coarse variety was retailing at Tk 55 to Tk 58 a kg.
Mahmudur Rahman, a rice retailer at Karwan Bazaar kitchen market told the Daily Observer, "Some dishonest businessmen are raising price blaming supply shortage, but it is in fact blaming an artificial crisis to pick buyers pocket."
He said market syndicates are having their hands behind the market overheating.
Abdur Rahim, owner of Kamrul Rice Agency at Badda, said that the prices of all kinds of rice, except Nazirshail, are abnormally rising. In less than a month, price of BR-28's price went up from Tk 45 to Tk 50, Swarna's from Tk 42 to Tk 45 and Miniket from Tk 48 to Tk 54.
KM Liyakat Ali, general secretary of Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners Association told the Daily said, "It's true that rice laden truck movement was fewer due to the stormy weather, but there is no question of supply crisis.
"Due to cyclone Bulbul, rice trucks were not sent to the capital but that can't have any impact on the overall market. Because markets always have 8-10 days reserve," he said.  
Ali also said that, as the government is ready to purchase Aman paddy at Tk 26, which they   used to buy at Tk 15 now have to purchase at Tk 20 to Tk 22. This can be a reason for the sudden price hike.

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