Prices of different varieties of rice has increased in various kitchen markets on speculation of short supply of paddy. On such news many farmers are known to have stockpiled paddy creating artificial crisis of rice.
Visits to various city markets yesterday revealed that prices of all varieties of rice is on the rise. At present, the price of coarse rice has increased by around Tk 500 taka per sack (A sack consist of 50 kg rice). Such a rise in prices of rice is said to be the highest in the history of the country. At least Tk 10 extra has to be paid to buy coarse rice per kg.
Apart from this, the price of all types of rice has increased from Tk 300 to Tk 400 per sack (50 kg sack). The price of fragrant sugar powder rice has increased by a record Tk 800 to Tk 1000 per sack.
Unscrupulous hoarders are taking advantage of the lack of market supervision to increase the price of rice. Some of the prominent mill owners of North Bengal, middlemen and various corporate groups are involved in the price manipulation.
Rice mill owners have stockpiled thousands of tonnes of rice for extra profit. Low income people are suffering.
It is alleged that due to the illegal hoarding of paddy and rice in the northern region, the rice market is going beyond control.
However, as per the government rules, paddy can be stored in the warehouse for a maximum of 30 days and rice for 15 days. Sadly, many of the traders are disregarding the rules.
Due to lack of regular supply, the price of rice is increasing due to purchase of paddy at higher prices. Besides paddy hoarders, some rice mill owners who control the market have also stockpiled excess rice. Due to rise in prices, rice supply is not adequate in the market. All in all, there is a shortage of rice in the markets.
Bangladesh Auto Rice Mill Owners Association President AKM Khorshed Alam Khan told Bangladesh Post that the information of how much paddy is stored privately must be found out. Where the paddy is stored and why is there - it should be unfolded by the government agencies. Only then, the reason why the price of rice is increasing will be known.
Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection Director (Administration and Finance) Manzoor Mohammad Shahriar told media that the price of rice in the market is much higher compared to last five years. If the price hike is due to paddy storage, several teams of the department are working to prevent it. If there is any discrepancy, the dishonest traders will be singled out and brought under punishment.
Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) President Ghulam Rahman said that this situation has arisen due to the manipulation of prices by a number of dishonest traders. The government should take into consideration the suffering of common people and bring the price of rice under control as soon as possible.
According to sources from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, rice production is higher than the market demand. A target of 4.04 crore tonnes of rice has been set for this financial year. Of this, Aman’s target was 1.50 crore million tonnes. On the contrary, the production was more than 1.55 crore tonnes.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said that drive against illegal hoarders is continuing. “We will take action against such unethical activity. Whoever is stockpiling paddy and rice illegally their identity will be unveiled by catching them red handed,” said the Minister.