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Minister: Government to spend Tk1,040cr for paddy purchase

  • Published at 07:42 pm July 8th, 2019
Web_Moulavibazar-Paddy-Field-FIle-Photo-MEHEDI-HASAN
File photo of farmers reaping paddy in a field in Moulvibazar Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

When it comes to providing price support to farmers, it’s the pace of the government’s procurement drive that matters most, not the volume

The government will spend Tk1,040 crore for procuring 400,000 metric tons of paddy from farmers during the current Boro season.

“The government has decided to procure 400,000 metric tons of paddy during the boro season of 2019 …with per ton paddy price of Tk26,000,” said Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder while replying to a query by treasury bench lawmaker Mohammad Ayenuddin of Rajshahi 3 constituency in parliament on Monday, reports BSS.

So far, the food ministry procured 79,463 metric tons of paddies with a price of Tk206.60 crore, he added.

The government intends to provide farmers with reasonable price support, and the last thing it would allow is to have a situation where farmers end up selling their paddy harvest to middlemen at lower prices.

When it comes to providing price support to farmers, it’s the pace of the government’s procurement drive that matters most, not the volume.

Earlier during Boro harvest season, farmers across the country criticized the lack of concern in the government’s paddy purchases from farmers, there were no determined effort in the food grain procurement program.

Market insiders fear that by the time the government’s food grain procurement drive gains momentum, if at all, farmers in dire need of cash would be compelled to sell paddy at much cheaper rates to unscrupulous middlemen, and millers.

Eventually, paddy farmers would not get the price benefit meant for them.     

Bangladesh registered a bumper rice production in 2019; courtesy of high domestic yield.

However, due to unregulated rice imports from across the border, farmers have been completely distraught this Boro season, and they were being offered only Tk500 for each maund of paddy as against the government declared support price of Tk1,040 per maund.

Market sources say that given the reality of the government buying only a small portion of rice and paddy from farmers and millers, it needs to do more at a much better pace.

Otherwise, farmers miss out on the true benefits of the government price support which is intended to help them, and the middlemen and millers end up cashing in on the benefits instead.

With 55% of the country’s annual rice output of more than 35 million tons coming from the irrigated Boro rice, farmers are now at the mercy of traders, and millers who are not procuring much from them due to a supply glut, and carryover stocks, thanks to a liberal import policy long pursued by the government.