Rice market unstable in Rangpur

Manipulation caused by syndicate alleged

Published : 01 Jun 2022 08:41 PM

Rangpur surplus in paddy and rice production. In this area known as granary, the price of rice has gone up abnormally during the boro paddy season. The price has gone up by Tk 8 to 10 per kg depending on the type of rice. Although there are thousands of sacks of rice in the warehouses, the price of rice continues to rise. It has been alleged that the warehouse-traders themselves have misappropriated thousands of crores of taka in the last one week by syndicating themselves. Meanwhile, the sudden rise in rice prices has put low-income people, working people and middle-class families in dire straits.

Visiting Rangpur City Bazar and Mahiganj Mokam, one of the largest rice hubs in the country, it can be seen that coarse rice at Tk 40 per kg has increased by Tk 6 per kg and is being sold at Tk 48 per kg. Golden rice of 50  per kg has been increased by 6 taka and is being sold at 56 taka. Miniket rice is being sold at Tk 60 per kg with an increase of Tk 10 per kg. Bridhan-28 variety rice of 54 taka is being sold at 72 taka. Local storekeepers say the price of rice has risen as big millers have created an artificial crisis by storing thousands of sacks of rice. Although they blamed the big millers, there were allegations that thousands of sacks of rice were illegally stored in the warehouses of traders at City Bazar and Mahiganj Mokam. However, no storekeeper could give a clear answer as to why the price of rice, which was a week ago, increased by Tk 8 to 10 per kg overnight.

Afzal Sharif, manager of Afzal Hossain's warehouse, admitted that they had more than 2,000 sacks of rice in their godown for a month. Of these, thousands of sacks of rice have been sold. But he could not give any explanation about the price increase of Tk 8 to 10 per kg in two days. Saheb Ali, the manager of another big warehouse, said the same thing. Their godown always has one and a half to two thousand sacks of rice in stock. From here they sell rice, again they bring rice from different districts including Dinajpur and Naogaon. "Even though we used to buy rice at the previous price, now we have to sell it at a higher price due to the increase in the price of rice in big places," he said.

There are more than a hundred rice warehouse traders in Mahiganj area of Rangpur city, one of the largest rice hubs in the country. Those who have bought at least 30 to 40 thousand sacks of rice at the previous price. By simultaneously raising the price of rice by showing artificial crisis, they have misappropriated hundreds of crores of taka. Small rice traders have complained that they have done this in the last seven days. They allege that a few big warehouse traders and millers are behind the destabilization of the rice market.

Agriculture experts say Rangpur is one of the surplus areas in rice and rice production in the country. There is no reason for rice prices to rise abnormally during the boro paddy season. It is a manipulation of the syndicate. Obaidur Rahman Mandal, Deputy Director, Department of Agricultural Extension, Rangpur, said that 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of rice produced from Rangpur district alone meets the demand of other districts of the country every year. In the current boro season, paddy has been cultivated in one lakh 31 thousand 650 hectares of land in the district. The production target has been set at 5 lakh 61 thousand 6 metric tons of rice. Paddy harvesting will be completed in all the lands of Rangpur district within next one week. Yield has also improved due to favorable weather. He added that the people of Rangpur district have a demand of 3.5 million metric tons of boro rice. There will be a surplus of more than 2.5 lakh metric tonnes of rice, which will meet the demand of other districts of the country. There is no reason to increase the price of rice in Rangpur during the busy season. It is a manipulation of the syndicate and strict action should be taken against them.

Meanwhile, due to the abnormal rise in the price of rice, low-income people, working and low-middle class families are in dire straits. Rickshaw drivers Abdul Karim and Sadeq Ali of Rangpur city said, "Our income has not increased but the price of rice has increased abnormally." Coarse rice of 40 taka per kg has risen to 48 taka. The way the price of rice is rising, it has become impossible for low income people like us to walk even if they eat less in the world.