Rice market heats up

Why identified syndicate remain untouched

Published : 10 Jul 2024 09:45 PM

We were optimistic that the prices of rice would come under control soon as the country has witnessed a bumper production of Boro paddy this year. However, rice prices increased further in the retail markets across the country, triggering worries for general people, particularly the people belonging to low and fixed-income groups. 

All varieties of rice are now being sold at prices much higher than those of the same period of last year, according to media reports. There is no reason to increase the prices of rice in the country’s market. 

We are concerned over the unusual increase in the price of rice, the main staple food of the country alongside the prices of all kinds of daily essentials including edible oil, lentil, fish, meat and vegetables. The increase in transportation cost due to fuel price hike has paved the way for the rise in daily essentials prices and rice. But, Bangladesh is currently in third place in global rice production.

All varieties of rice are now being

 sold at prices much higher than

 those of the same period of last year

Making the fuel price an issue, an unholy nexus of mill owners, importers, and hoarders have deliberately increased the price of the main staple food through syndication when the country’s common people have been facing economic hardship. They had hoarded a large quantity of paddy during the harvesting season and now they are creating an artificial crisis to make the rice price unstable in the market across the country. Such an abnormal rise in rice prices cannot be accepted and tolerated at all. Earlier, the intelligence agency identifying a hoarding syndicate behind the rice price spiral, had suggested the government take stern actions against them immediately.

Besides, a study of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies says 50 large mills have the capacity to influence the supply and prices of the staple food. The government had also blacklisted 16,000 rice millers for hoarding in an effort to manipulate price.

Currently, the country has over 3, 5000 auto rice mills and 18,500 rice mills. The big question is why the identified mill owners, importers and hoarders through forming a syndicate responsible for the skyrocketing price hike of rice remain untouched. The government should start a countrywide drive against illegal rice and paddy hoarders to curb brisk business by some unscrupulous traders aiming to maintain smooth food supply chain for consumers.