Food ministry is going to import coarse rice from Vietnam under the government to government mechanism to ensure adequate supply of the staple in the country, said officials.
A high level delegation led by food minister Qamrul Islam leaves for Vietnam tonight on a three-day official visit to sign a G2G deal for rice import, they said.
The food department officials told New Age on Sunday that all out preparation was taken to import sufficient quantity of rice from Vietnam to make the local market stable in the wake of further price hike of the staple following loss of standing paddy in the country’s Haor belts.
The government decided to initially import 600,000 tonnes of rice as it has estimated massive crop loss in the Haors, they said.
Meanwhile, procurement of Boro rice went slow as millers were unwilling to sign agreements with the Department of Food for supply of rice at Tk 34 a kg while the market price went up by Tk 8-10 per kg, said officials concerned.
Additional director of procurement division Shaikh Roka Mia told New Age that they had so far signed contracts with 4,200 millers for procuring 1.47 lakh tonnes of Boro rice against a target of 15 lakh tonnes.
He said the department would require another week to complete the agreement singing with over 22,000 millers listed with the government.
Food DG Badrul Hasan said that the government would import six lakh tonnes of coarse rice to face any untoward situation as standing Boro crops were damaged during early floods in March-April.
As per the government decision, the food department is scheduled to procure 15 lakh tonnes of paddy and rice during the ongoing Boro season from May 2 to August 31.
Of the amount, there were 8 lakh tonnes of husked rice and seven lakh tonnes of the paddy with the procurement price of per kilogram rice of Tk 34 and per kg of paddy at Tk 24
After the flash floods destroyed Boro crops in the Haor belt, the price of coarse rice increased to Tk 10 per kilogram and caused sufferings to the low income people.
Creating temporary shortage, the greedy traders caused the price hike of rice, said food officials.
When asked, Bangladesh Agriculture University professor of agricultural finance ASM Golam Hafeez told New Age that it was responsibility of the government to estimate the shortfall of rice to control the local market.
The country’s low income people have been affected badly by the recent rice price hike, he said.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country