Consumers paying 3-time higher prices than selling prices of farm produce in Bangladesh

Government decides to find out why it’s happening

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Consumers in Bangladesh are made to pay three times higher prices for farm produce due to hidden costs, including illegal tolls. 

To end such disruptive price structures of farm produce at consumers’ level, a high-level government meeting decided yesterday to find out why and where trucks carrying  vegetables and foodgrains have to pay illegal tolls and bear all other hidden costs. 

After meeting the deputy commissioners of 64 districts at Dhaka's Osmany Memorial Auditorium, Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said, "The farm produce that a grower sells at Tk. 15 a kilogram, why should that cost Tk. 45 a kg in Dhaka markets?"

He said there were middlemen in the food value chain throughout the world but nowhere was such price escalation seen.

The minister said the government would carry out a study to find out where all the extra bucks go and where the food-laden trucks had to pay the tolls.

He said his ministry, the cabinet division and DCs would work together on conducting this study. However, he did not mention any timeline regarding the completion of such a fact-finding mission. 

Yesterday's meeting was held as part of the ongoing DCs’ Conference. The Food Minister and the secretaries of both the ministries of agriculture and food were also present. 

The move to put an end to disruptive crop pricing comes at a time when both producers and consumers in Bangladesh have long been complaining about being victims of middlemen and rent seekers getting away with the bigger pies of profits.

Newspapers have been abuzz with reports that cereal and vegetable producing farmers are not getting just prices for their produce, on the one hand; and, on the other, that urban consumers were having to cough up exorbitant prices for the produce.

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