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24 May, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Food dept moves to buy paddy from farmers

ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka
Food dept moves to buy paddy from farmers

Although the country’s district controllers of food were asked to buy paddy directly from farmers instead of middlemen or businessmen, the Directorate General of Food could buy only 5,000 metric tonnes of paddy till Wednesday, according to Food Ministry sources.

The government is laying emphasis on buying paddy directly from farmers at its fixed price. To achieve the target, the ministry has given further instructions to strengthen activities to buy paddy directly from farmers to ensure they get a just price for their crops.

At the same time, the DCs Food were also asked to ensure that rice millers cannot supply "old or substandard rice" from their stocks in government warehouses, taking advantages of higher price, the sources said. It would help the government send the millers to the local market for buying paddy from the millers. It would impact the paddy markets of the country.

According to food ministry sources, public and private importers imported around 40 lakh metric tonnes of rice from abroad in 2017, against shortage of only 15 lakh tonnes of rice due to several floods and natural calamities, taking advantage of the government’s import duty waiver facility.

It resulted in around 25 lakh tonnes of surplus rice in their stocks, the sources said, adding that in the last two years, country’s farmers have grown bumper crops in Aman, Aus and Boro seasons. As a result, there are huge stocks of rice in godowns of millers and importers, the sources added.

There is lack of interest in buying more rice from the local market because of a huge fall in paddy and rice price as there

is still a huge stock in private godowns. Besides, large quantities of imported rice has had an impact on the rice price.

In this situation, the government has decided to buy 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy and 11 lakh tonnes of rice from the local market to give incentives to the farmers.

According to the government decision, they will start taking rice from millers on a large scale, after completing buying paddy from farmers. Senior officials have been asked to see that new Boro rice is bought.

A food ministry source claimed yesterday that they received a message on Wednesday that some millers of Tangail’s Mirzapur area have started delivering “old rice” from their stocks to government godowns. Food Minister Sadhan Chadra Majumder instructed DG Food officials to visit the place and take action after investigation.

The director (procurement) and another senior official of the DG Food yesterday visited the spot and stopped taking the old rice. Officials of the DC Food were instructed to buy new Boro rice from the millers. Before taking rice, they were asked to buy paddy from the farmers, a Food Ministry official confirmed.

When asked about the step, the food minister told this correspondent at his ministry office yesterday that they are sincere in protecting the rights and interests of the farmers.

If the farmers do not get adequate price for their crops, they would not be interested to grow crops any more, he added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also given instructions to buy paddy directly from the farmers. The authorities concerned have been working to ensure it so that the farmers get a proper price for their crops, the food minister said.

“The PM has also asked us to ensure that no rice is imported any more. During the time of free market economy, it’s hard to stop rice imports. But the government has imposed an additional duty to discourage importers. Due to the 55 per cent duty, importers will be discouraged to import rice. It will help farmers to get a proper price,” he added.

He also said that Bangladesh does not import coarse chunky rice from abroad. It usually imports fine rice, he added.

Last year, Bangladesh imported around 1.97 lakh tonnes of fine rice to meet the demand of various luxury hotels and restaurants and upper-class people.

 

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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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