Rice traders claimed that the prices went up as mill owners hiked the prices at mill gates
Prices of some varieties of rice have suddenly increased by around Tk3-8 a kilogram in Dhaka’s kitchen markets over the week.
Rice traders claimed that the prices went up as mill owners hiked the prices at mill gates.
Visiting several kitchen markets in the capital including Rampura, Malibagh and Panthapath, coarse variety of Sawrna rice was found selling at Tk38-40 a kg while BR-28 at Tk42-45 which was Tk38 earlier.
Moreover, Miniket rice variety sold at Tk50 a kg, compared to its previous price of Tk40-45, Jirasail at Tk45 compared to Tk40 and Kalijira rice at Tk105 compared to Tk90-100.
Masud Rana, a local trader in Malibagh kitchen market, said: “I don’t know exactly what is causing the price hike but there is no supply shortage. Millers and wholesalers have increased the price. So we have increased it as well.”
Ahmed Sultan, a consumer from Panthapath area, said the kitchen market was already unstable due to the giddy high pieces of onion. "Since there is no effective market monitoring system in place, traders and millers are taking advantage of the situation and increasing rice prices also," he alleged.
However, Md Farhad Hussen, general secretary of Noagoan district rice mill owners' association, denied such allegation.
He said: “It is not the mill owners but the middlemen who are increasing the prices. Today, I sold Gguti Swarna rice at Tk27 a kg as wholesale price. The price increased by at least Tk3 a kg at all mills. Then it is not fair to retail this rice variety at Tk38-40.”
“We don’t have supply shortage. But the prices of Miniket and Swarna verities were lower before the government had fixed the prices and we adjusted accordingly.” he said.
The government has taken three initiatives to balance the rice market. The initiatives are imposing 55% duty on rice import, setting 2 lakh tons export limit and procuring 6 lakh of tons paddy at Tk26 a kg from farmers and 4 lakh tons of Sawarna rice at Tk35-36 a kg from millers, Farhad added.
However, he also hinted that the prices of rice might increase more since the government fixed the highest price this time.
KM Layek Ali, secretary general of Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners' Association, said: "Only the price of Miniket rice, which is derived from Jirashail paddy, has increased. Millers increased the price by Tk1.5-2 a kg. Now the price stood at Tk42-45 a kg. But why is it selling at more than Tk50 at retail market? The matter should be investigated."
He said a maund of paddy now cost Tk1020-1040 which was Tk700-800 earlier. The government fixed the price of thick grain paddy at Tk26 a kg.
However, both Layek Ali and Farhad Hussein said they could not buy paddy from farmer directly. They have to buy through middlemen.