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27 May, 2019 08:47:00 AM
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Govt to build 200 paddy silos to overcome space crisis

ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka
Govt to build 200 paddy silos to overcome space crisis

Owing to a shortage of space to store food grain in government silos across the country, the government has decided to construct 200 paddy silos at a cost of about Tk. 1,400 crore. At present, the storage capacity of food grain, including paddy, in government silos is about 21 lakh tonnes.

The government can’t stock paddy in existing silos as per farmer’s demand, as most of the silos are constructed only to stock rice, food ministry sources said.

According to the sources, despite having a desire to stock additional rice, the government can’t procure more rice from farmers due to a lack of adequate silos in the country.

“We have decided to construct the paddy silos to stock 10 lakh tonnes of paddy. Each silo will have the capacity to store 5,000 tonnes of paddy,” food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder told The Independent yesterday.

At least Tk. 7 crore will be needed to construct each silo, he said, adding that a total of Tk. 1,400 crore would be needed to construct the 200 paddy silos across the country.

“We have received the consent from the Prime Minister. She directed us to prepare the development project profile (DPP) immediately. We are in the process to prepare the DPP for the proposed 200 silos,” the food minister said.

He said the main objective of the silos will be to stock paddy during Boro, Amon and Aus seasons.

As part of the initiative, the Directorate-General of Food has already completed a feasibility study, he said, adding that it has also asked its field level officers to select locations for building the silos and auto-rice mills, to ensure proper benefit to farmers.

“Once the silos are constructed it would be possible to procure and stock 10 lakh tonnes of paddy every year from the farmers directly. It would also help the government to ensure just price of paddy and tackle the local markets from the government's own stock,” Sadhan Chandra Majumder said.

The food minister said the matter was discussed informally at the last ECNEC meeting and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given her positive signal to construct paddy silos including cabinet members.

It would take at least one month to prepare the DPP, the food minister said, adding that once the DPP is prepared, it would be sent to the planning commission for the ECNEC's approval, which chaired the Prime Minister.

“Once the approval of ECNEC is received, we hope to be able to start construction of the silos soon. We also hope we can procure paddy from farmers directly and stock some paddy in our own silos for the next Boro season,” the food minister said in reply to a query.

The minister further said each of the silos will have a drier machine, where the paddy will be dried to ensure the required level of moisture. “A fanning machine will also be available in every silo to clean the paddy. So, no extra space will be required for drying and fanning purposes. As a result, the authority concerned will be able to procure its required paddy directly from the farmers,” Sadhan Chandra Majumder said.

He said the government has been procuring only 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy from the farmers considering the required moisture and dryness of paddy this Boro season.

When asked about incidents where some of his party men tried to interrupt the procurement of Boro rice from farmers, the minister replied, “We are very serious about procuring paddy from farmers. Our field level officers have already started procuring paddy from farmers directly. If anyone tries to interrupt the procurement—it won’t be tolerated.”

There will be no compromise with political activists in terms of procurement of paddy, the food minister said, adding that the officials of the directorate-general of food will procure paddy from the farmers directly.

KK

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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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