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12 June, 2019 12:53:46 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 June, 2019 04:14:07 PM
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Govt raises paddy procurement target

Boro crisis
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Dhaka
Govt raises paddy procurement target

The government has decided to procure an additional 2.5 lakh tonnes of Boro paddy from farmers directly at Tk. 26 per kg. Earlier, the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee (FPMC) had decided to procure 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy. But now the government will procure a total of 4 (four) lakh tonnes of Boro paddy this season. Both the agriculture and food ministers said this at an emergency press briefing held at the Secretariat yesterday.

The decision was taken after a discussion with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the ministers said. They further said the World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian organisation of the United Nations, has also expressed its interest to buy rice from Bangladesh if it met the international standards.

“The Prime Minister is very concerned regarding the unusual low price of paddy. She directed the ministries concerned to take immediate steps to increase the prices of paddy to ensure the farmer’s interest,” agriculture minister Dr Abdur Razzaque said.

Terming the present government as farmer-friendly, food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said: “We have decided to procure an additional 2.5 lakh tonnes of paddy as per the PM’s directives, notwithstanding space constraint at government godowns.”

The foodgrain stock capacity in public godowns was only about 20 lakh tonnes, the food minister said, adding that at least 13-14 lakh tonnes of food was needed to be stocked on a regular basis to meet demands during natural disasters, for law enforcement agencies and military ration purposes, VGF, VGD and food-friendly programmes.

“Despite strong willingness to procure more paddy from farmers, we are unable to do so due to acute constraint of space in public godowns. So, we have decided to set up 200 paddy silos across the country to stock 10 lakh tonnes of paddy,” Majumder said.

According to the food minister, the government has zero tolerance against paddy-buying syndicates. “We have signed an agreement with the millers. This paddy will be stocked at the millers’ godowns. They will crush the paddy and the government will stock the rice. The departments concerned will pay the godown rent, transport and crushing cost to millers,” he said.

Majumder further said the procurement will continue till August.

Both the ministers expressed hope that it would help the farmers to sell their products to the government directly and get benefited.

“It’s a temporary problem. We are monitoring the market on a regular basis. It’s very painful for the farmers for not getting proper prices as per production cost. The media and experts are continuously focusing on the issue, but not giving any solution in this regard,” agriculture minister Dr Abdur Razzaque said.

When asked regarding the opposition to exporting rice, Razzaque replied: “We think there will be no problem in exporting 10-12 lakh tonnes of rice. We have the economic capacity to procure rice if there any natural disaster occurs in near future.”

He said it was easier to give incentives for agricultural inputs instead of cash incentives to farmers.

“Our immediate plan is decision to procure 2.5 lakh tonnes of paddy additionally. If needed, we will procure 1-2 lakh tonnes more,” he replied to a query.

Bangladesh was now a food sufficient country, the minister said, adding that the production of rice, vegetables, meat, fish and milk have increased more than expected.

According to agricultural ministry sources, the production cost of Boro rice was around Tk. 34 per kg this year.

Earlier, the FPMC had fixed the prices of parboiled rice at Tk. 36 per kg, atap rice at Tk. 35 per kg and Boro paddy at Tk. 26 per kg under government arrangements.

SR

 

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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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