• Friday, Dec 06, 2019
  • Last Update : 08:32 am

Govt steps will ensure fair paddy prices, hopes PM

  • Published at 01:46 am June 13th, 2019
File photo of farmers reaping paddy in a field in Moulvibazar Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Hasina said the government has raised the import duty on rice to discourage imports

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has elaborated various steps her administration is taking to ensure fair paddy price for farmers, mentioning that the government is executing a plan to stock 2.8 million tons of foodgrains in the country.

“We have taken a decision to buy 150,000 tons of paddy from farmers directly at Tk1,040 per maund to keep its price stable as more paddy was produced than there was demand for,” she said in reply to a starred question in parliament from Jatiya Party lawmaker Rustom Ali Farazi, reports BSS.

“Also, to keep rice prices stable, the government has decided to purchase one million tons of parboiled rice at Tk36 per kilo, and 150,000 tons of Atap rice at Tk35 per kg,” she said, adding that preparations for purchasing the rice have already begun.

Hasina said the government has raised the import duty on rice to discourage imports. “We hope these initiatives will ensure fair paddy prices for farmers.”

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Tuesday announced the government will procure 250,000 tons more of paddy directly from farmers as they were being deprived of a fair price.

The government had earlier decided to procure 1,200,000 tons of rice and 150,000 tons of paddy. With the latest decision, he said the government’s total paddy procurement  at Tk26 per kg, will now stand at 400,000 tons.

“The government has so far managed to procure 30,000 tons of paddy from farmers,” Sadhan added.

Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak also said the prime minister was very concerned about the low price of paddy. “On Monday, the prime minister said profits have to be ensured for farmers within the shortest possible time and for that we will buy more paddy from them.”

The ongoing food grain procurement program which started on April 25 will continue till August 31.

Earlier, farmers in different parts of the country staged protests in numerous ways demanding a fair price for their produce as they have been counting huge losses.

The production cost of a maund of rice, including labour costs, are said to be Tk1000, while its selling price is only Tk550 to Tk750 in local markets.

Foodgrains and storage

Prime Minister Hasina yesterday said the present foodgrain storage capacity in the country is 1.9 million tons. “We are implementing a plan keeping in mind that 2.8 million tons of foodgrains will be stored.”

She said the government is setting up modern silos all across the country to preserve more foodgrains. Two modern silos, one in Santahar and another in Mongla, have already been built.

“We are also distributing plastic containers to farmers so that they can store their foodgrains,” she added.

Talking about her government’s initiatives, the prime minister said thanks to implementation of their agriculture-friendly policy, food production has risen to 413.25 million tons from 333.3 million tons in 2009.

She said Bangladesh was now fourth in the world for rice production, seventh in potato production, and third in vegetables.

She added that the government was giving subsidies on fertilizer, electricity, and other agricultural inputs to farmers regularly, while fertilizers and seeds were being given for free to small and marginalized farmers.

“In keeping with recent trends in production, there was a bumper crop of paddy this year too,” she said.

Pointing out that the country’s southern region lacks rice mills, Hasina asked local lawmakers to look into the matter.