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1 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Bid to hike paddy prices

Govt decides to export 10-15 lakh tonnes of rice

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Dhaka
Govt decides to export 
10-15 lakh tonnes of rice

The government has decided to export 10–15 lakh tonnes of rice this year to ensure a fair price for paddy.  It also plans to increase the stock of paddy to 50 lakh tonnes and spend Tk. 3,000 crore on agricultural mechanisation, a sum allocated from last year’s revenue.

Agriculture minister Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said this at a press conference held at the Secretariat yesterday. “We have decided to export 10–15 lakh tonnes of rice this year. Exporters can start doing so immediately. If they apply to the commerce ministry for approval, they will be given permission immediately,” he said.

The government will also give incentives up to 30 per cent on rice exports, he added. Commerce ministry secretary Md Nasiruzzaman also attended the press briefing.

Abdur Razzaque said the government decided to export rice to protect farmers from losses caused by falling domestic paddy prices. The government is considering raising incentives to 25– 30 per cent from 20 per cent to encourage rice export, he added.

In 2017, importers purchased around 39 lakh metric tonnes of rice against the demand of only 15 lakh tonnes. But they could not sell the rice in the last two years as the farmers have grown bumper crops in these two years due to favourable weather. As a result, most of the millers are not buying paddy from local markets.

At the same time, some of the importers were unnecessarily importing rice, taking advantage of a low rice import duty. The government has already increased the duty on rice import from 28 per cent to 55 per cent to discourage rice import, the minister said.

He also said that the recent fall in rice prices due to bumper production was made possible by favourable weather, government incentives, excessive rice import and huge stocks.

Meanwhile, the farmers are frustrated because of the low price of paddy and high wages of day labourers to harvest their crops. In this situation, there is no alternative of mechanisation and modernisation in the agriculture sector to make it profitable.

Production of paddy has increased several times compared to past years, Razzaque said. Only 110.80 lakh tonnes of paddy was produced in 1972, the production was over 1.96 crore tonnes in 2019, he added.

“Now the government has stressed mechanisation in the agricultural sector. A total of Tk. 3,000 was allocated as incentives from the revenue budget last year. So, we have decided to spend this allocation for mechanisation in agricultural sector,” the agricultural minister said.

He further said that rice would be directly procured from the beginning of the season from farmers after fixing the price. “The space to stock paddy in government silos will be increased in phases. The stock position of paddy will be increased to 50 lakh tonnes in phases in government silos. We have to encourage the export of rice and discourage import,” he added.

He noted that the government usually makes a gross allocation of Tk. 9,000 crore every year as agricultural subsidy. But it could spend only Tk. 6,000 crore every year. The rest aways go back.  The government is planning to spend the rest of the money on mechanisation of agriculture this year, he added.

The Prime Minister has already given consent to spend the money for mechanisation of the agricultural sector. Necessary numbers of harvesters and paddy-packaging machines would be bought and supplied to all upazila offices for farmers’ use. Procurement of machines will be completed before the upcoming Boro season and supplied to all upazilas, he added.

 In response to a query, Razzaque said that the government took several steps to ensure proper price of crops produced by farmers.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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