Rice prices increased further in the retail market, adding to the hardship of the people on low and fixed-income.
Prices of most rice varieties went up by Tk 3 to 6 a kg in the capital after Eid while some of coarse rice rose by 1.15 percent in last 30 days, according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data.
The hike is 27.54 percent over the last year’s rates.
Though TCB data suggest that coarse rice was selling at Tk 43-45 a kg at the retail level, this correspondent found the price to be Tk 47- Tk 48 at different kitchen markets in the city on Wednesday.
Fine-quality Miniket and Najirshail were selling at Tk 58-60 and Tk 65- 67 a kg respectively while medium-quality Brridhan-28, Paijam, Lota and Parija were retailing between Tk 55 and 58 per kg.
Agri economist Golam Hafiz Kennedy said the crop damage caused by the recent floods may create long-term impacts on rice market.
He also said the government should launch open-market sales of rice to help the low and middle-income groups cope with the price hike.
Rice prices have been increasing in the last few months though the government has taken different initiatives to stabilise the prices of the staple food.
“Prices of coarse and medium quality rice have increased mainly in the urban areas. The hike is adding to the hardship of the low-income people who are already under strain amid soaring prices of essentials,” said Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan, secretary of Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh.
He blamed a section of businessmen for the volatile rice market, suggesting the government to strictly monitor the market.
Agri economists are apprehending a serious shortage of rice in the country this year.
The government has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and rice import agreements with four countries to tackle the situation. But the amount of rice imported so far is inadequate.
Boro, Aus and Aman crops have suffered a severe blow in the recent floods. An estimate of the agricultural affairs ministry revealed that the production of rice in the Boro season fell by one million tonnes in the haor regions.
Crops on more than one lakh hectares of land have been totally damaged while crops on more than five lakh hectares have been partially damaged in the Aman season.