To ensure sufficient rice supply against the local demand in the market as well as at the government’s warehouses, the authority concerned is going to fix the storage limit of paddy at every auto rice mill in the country.
Food Secretary Dr. Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum told The Bangladesh Post that, “From our practical observations, we are going to take steps to ensure sufficient paddy supply to government warehouses and as well as to local markets by rationalizing paddy stock at auto rice mills.”
“We will increase our intelligence surveillance rapidly to each and every auto rice mill warehouses to monitor their stock limit, we will go for strict action if we find any allegation against the government step”, she added.
According to government officials, due to the government business-friendly support, during the last few years, the number of auto rice mills across the country has increased gradually.
Bangladesh Auto Rice Mills Owners' Association president AKM Khorshed Alam Khan told The Bangladesh Post that, “Auto rice mill business began in the country during 1980. At that time, there were hardly two or three mills, but now there are more than 1000 mills in the country.”
He regretted that like other sectors, the Auto Rice Mills industry did not get proper government support and incentive in its long journey.
“Over the last few years giant investors invest their money in auto rice mills, for whom small and medium businessmen of the sector are struggling. They are illegally stockpiling paddy in their different warehouses, for which we observe a negative impact in the market. I urged the government to increase its surveillances against such game players in the sector”, he added.
On the other hand, as the government has increased its rice distribution among the ultra-poor due to the outbreak of pandemic coronavirus and other natural disasters, coarse rice demand goes high, while auto rice mill owners are interested only in fine rice.
In this regard, the food ministry secretary said, “As we only distribute coarse rice among the poor, and this year price has increased significantly, we are also looking forward to inspire farmers to increase coarse rice cultivation.”
On the other hand, during this session, if the paddy procurement target sees a shortfall, the government is ready to import rice from abroad.
“We are expecting satisfactory procurement of Aman paddy this season. However, as there are many difficulties taking place this year, we have had all preparations to import rice from foreign countries to meet the local demand”, added Nazmanara Khanum.
Meanwhile, to increase production of paddy agriculture minister Abdur Razzak said the amount of land used in Boro paddy cultivation would be increased next season.
“Apart from existing boro land, 50000 hectares more land will be used for boro cultivation to increase the production,” he said.
He added that the production of Aman this year is not as expected due to various reasons including floods. As a result, price has increased. “We will encourage our farmers to bring all the arable land under Boro cultivation,” he added.
In order to increase the production and productivity of Boro, all the officials from the field to the ministry levels have to make all preparations and stay by the side of the farmers, he suggested.
It was learned that the country has gone through three disasters this year. Millions of people have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic outbreaks. There is a risk of further natural disasters. As a result, the government may have to go beyond the target and provide rice assistance to a large number of poor people under the social security program.
In this case, this year the government stock may have been as it was targeted to be.