Govt to boost food stock as bumper Boro harvest likely

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

14 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Govt to boost food stock as bumper Boro harvest likely

Hybrid and high-yielding varieties of Boro paddy may bring a big smile to the farmers this year as they are expecting a bumper production in the upcoming Boro harvesting season.

Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DEA) said the government has set a target to boost the country’s food stock through the upcoming Boro harvesting.

They said the farmers have cultivated paddy on over 52 lakh hectare of lands this year after being inspired by higher prices of rice.

DAE Field Service Wing director AKM Monirul Alam told the Daily Sun that they estimate 10 per cent higher Boro acreage this season against the target of 48 lakh hectares.

“Good price of crops have encouraged the farmers to cultivate paddy on more lands,” he said.

The official said that prevailing suitable weather conditions may help get a bumper yield.

“If hailstorm and adverse weather conditions do not affect paddy fields, the target of getting a bumper production will be achieved,’ he said.

At present, the paddy, mostly the Aman, is being sold at Tk 1,300 per maund while it was Tk 1100 during the harvesting time of Aman.

Boro is grown from December to mid-March and harvest goes on from April to June in the country. Boro season fulfils 60 per cent of the country's total rice demand.

Crop losses in the last Aus and Aman season affected the country’s cereal production and stock, increasing rice price and forcing the government to import rice to stabilise the market.

The government wants to produce additional several lakh tonnes of rice by increasing the acreage of high yielding paddy, DAE officials said.

The DAE has set a target to produce 205.813 lakh tonnes of rice from 48.052 lakh hectors of land in FY 2020-21. The country produced 201.814 lakh tonnes of rice from 47.544 lakh hectors of land in FY 2019-20, according to DAE data.

Several phases of floods, long time rainfall and cyclone-affected Aman rice production last year, putting the country on a tight edge during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Production of Aman rice will be 1.53 million tonnes less than that of the previous season due to flooding in 35 districts during the June-October period, according to a research of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI).

The government food grain stock has declined due to lower procurement from the domestic market, pushing up the price of rice in the country.

The country’s foodgrain stock stood at 7.55 lakh metric tonnes --- 5.45 lakh metric tonnes of rice and 2.10 lakh metric tonnes wheat--- as of 17 December 2020.

The stock was 13.89 lakh metric tonnes --- 10.55 lakh metric tonnes rice and 3.33 lakh metric tonnes wheat on 17 December 2019.

There was a stock of 6.36 lakh tonnes of foodgrains -- 5.33 lakh tonnes of rice and 1.03 lakh tonnes of wheat -- in the country as of 3 March this year, according to the Ministry of Food.