Traders blame wholesalers and millers for manipulating prices, but millers deny
The price of several varieties of rice, including Miniket, Paijam and Swarna, went up in the capital’s kitchen markets. Traders blamed wholesalers for upping prices with the excuse of countrywide floods disrupting the supply chain and causing supply shortages.
But wholesalers and rice millers claimed there was adequate supply despite the floods, and prices were steady and unchanged as late as last last week.
Visiting several kitchen markets in the city on Sunday, this correspondent found the retail price for most rice varieties had gone up by Tk2 to Tk5 per kilogram since last week.
Traders said the standard variety of Miniket rice was selling for Tk55-58 a kilo, while the finer variety was selling for Tk60-65 per kg. Najirshail rice was also selling at the same rate.
BR-28 rice was retailing at Tk50-54 a kg, while Paijam rice was selling for Tk48-55 per kg.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), Miniket rice was selling for Tk54-64 per kg, which was Tk50-62 per kg last week.
TCB statistics also show the price of Paijam rice was now Tk48-55 per kg, which was Tk44-55 a kilo last week. Swarna rice sold for Tk42-48 a kg, which was Tk40-48 per kg last week.
Raju Ahmed, a rice retailer from Malibag, said the floods fhave orced rice prices up, as they had to purchase at a higher price from wholesalers.
"Even two days ago, I bought coarse Miniket rice at Tk50 per kg, but today (Sunday) it went up by Tk5 a kg, without any proper explanation. Other varieties such as Paijam also increased by Tk4-5 per kg," said Aslam Uddin, from Rampura.
However, millers had a different story.
Nasir Uddin Khan, owner of Khan Auto Rice Mill, said that although the price of rice went up a month ago prices did not change after that.
He sold a maund of rice recently to wholesalers at Tk2,500, roughly Tk51 per kg, the same as a month ago.
But wholesalers said they bought a maund of rice for Tk2,700-2,800.
Sarwar Mahmud, director general at the Directorate General of Food, said that although prices increase whenever there is a supply shortage, the end of the Boro season may also play a part in the recent price hike.
He also attributed the increase to the Covid-19 pandemic, floods and other issues, but said the hike was only reported in Dhaka and not elsewhere across the country.
“There is no shortage of rice. The government has an adequate supply of rice in the warehouses: around a million tons. There is nothing to worry about. If necessary, the government will import rice," he added.