Wednesday, 29 September, 2021

Rice prices rise

Rice prices have gone up in the retail market despite a bumper yield of Boro paddy in the last season, triggering worries for the people, particularly those with low and fixed incomes.

Many people have been suffering from income losses due to the lockdown-shutdown and lower economic activities following the coronavirus pandemic since last year.

Agro economist Prof ASM Golam Hafeez said a section of middlemen and millers are increasing the rice prices during the Covid-19 crisis to gain extra profit.

“Though the country witnessed bumper production in the last couple of rice producing seasons, most of the paddy shares are now stocked by the middlemen,” he said, adding that a slower release of the stock increased prices of rice.

The price of coarse rice has marked an increase by 14.12 percent compared to the last year’s rate while the hike is 5.43 percent in the last 30 days and 2.1 percent in the last one week, according to data of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

Coarse variety of rice was selling at Tk 47-52 per kg in the market on Sunday while it was Tk 45-50 a week earlier.

The price of fine quality rice has marked a rise by 14.29 percent compared to the corresponding period of the last year while the hike is 5.79 percent in the last 30 days and 2.40 percent in the last one week, according to the TCB.

Fine quality Najir and Miniket varieties were selling at Tk 62-70 per kg in the market on Sunday against last week’s Tk 58-65.

In 2020-2021 fiscal year, 2.7 crore tonnes of Boro paddy were produced while the production was 1.96 crore tonnes in the previous year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The production of Boro paddy was all-time high in the country’s history. This year, the production of Boro paddy has increased by more than 11 lakh tonnes.

In total, Bangladesh produced 6 percent more rice year-on-year to 3.86 crore tonnes in fiscal year 2020-21, according to an estimate by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

But, country’s people are not reaping the benefit of the bumper Boro production due to some unscrupulous traders and businessmen, said Golam Hafeez.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Sunday said the government has taken various initiatives to keep rice prices stable at the consumer level. “The Food Ministry takes steps to monitor market, warehouse and any other hoarding by illegal traders. We’ve also allowed rice import and increased government food stock through import and local procurement,” he said.

Different food-friendly programmes also sell rice at reasonable prices and open market sale also runs across the country to help the lower-income group.