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Boro procurement misses target again

Published : Thursday, 17 September, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 96

The Directorate General of Food (DG Food) under the Food Ministry finally concluded its internal food grain procurement drive on September 15 with only 50 percent success in buying Boro paddy and rice from local farmers.
In the last four and half a month (beginning from May 1 to September 15 this year), the DG Food could buy only 2.19 lakh tonnes of Boro paddy against its target of 8.00 lakh tonnes.
Against the target of buying 10 lakh tonnes of boiled rice, it could buy only 6.52 lakh tonnes while 96,472 tonnes of non-boiled rice were procured against its target of 1.50 lakh tonnes, according to the DG Food statement.
It stated on Wednesday that the authorities could buy around 8.91 lakh tonnes of food grain in the form of rice against its total target of 8 lakh tonnes of paddy and 11.50 lakh tonnes of rice.
The total target of procurement stands at 16.70 lakh tonnes in the form of rice.
With the 50 percent success in procurement, the total food grain stock in the government warehouses has now stood at 14.68 lakh metric   tonnes. Of the food grain, around 11.84 lakh tonnes are rice and the rest 2.84 lakh tonnes wheat.
To enhance the stock further, the Cabinet Committee on the Government
Procurement (CCGP) on Wednesday gave its nod to import two lakh tonnes of wheat from Russia under G2G (government to government) mechanism between the two countries expensing around Tk 437 crore.
Although the Food Ministry and DG Food authorities have an approval from the Prime Minister to buy necessary amount of rice from different countries, it hasn't yet taken any visible initiative to import rice to meet up the shortage.
The authorities said they wouldn't need to import rice from abroad.
When contacted, Food Secretary Dr Nazmanara Khanum on Wednesday told this correspondent that their aim to fix 'a highly ambitious target' was to ensure profit of the farmers. It was fixed following the instruction of the Prime Minister so that farmers can get price of their paddy.
"The target of buying huge amount of paddy was set to ensure paddy price at the market. It was achieved. The farmers have got adequate price. Now, our concern is meeting up the demand for rice. This year, we have a stock of around 14.68 lakh tonnes, which are four lakh tonnes less than the previous year. I think it wouldn't create any problem or crisis to ensure food supply chain," she added.
She also claimed that the food grain procurement drive was concluded on September 15 and it wouldn't be extended further.
Regarding import of rice from abroad, she said, "We are now observing the overall situation including production of Aman. We will only take steps to import rice, if the target of Aman cannot be achieved this year due to flood. We have to look after the people's interest."
She said, "We have taken approval from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to import rice. But, it's not our target to import rice unless it's extremely necessary. We want to control the rice market so that no one can manipulate. But, we are ready to import rice in both public and private sectors, if it's necessary."
According to statement of the Directorate General of Food (DG Food) under the Food Ministry, the authority could procure only around 7.40 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of rice and paddy against its target of buying 19.50 lakh tonnes till August 29 beginning from May this year.
The government collection rate of rice is Tk 36 per kg. But, the costing of the millers is around Tk 40 including the husking cost. As a result, most millers stopped supplying rice to the public godowns demanding increase in rice price.
But, the government has not agreed to increase the price.

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