The government on Tuesday decided to procure 2.5 lakh tonnes more un-husked rice directly from the farmers during the current boro season.
The price of per kilogram un-husked rice would remain the same at Tk 26, said food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder while talking to reporters after a meeting at the ministry’s conference room.
The government’s fresh decision came in the face of countrywide protests by affected farmers and socio-political organisations against the low price of boro.
Earlier, the government decided to procure 11.50 lakh tonnes of husked rice from millers and 1.50 lakh tonnes of un-husked rice from farmers during the current boro season.
Although the procurement was supposed to start on April 1, finally it started on April 25, said food ministry officials.
They also said that procurement would continue until June 30 at the rate of Tk 26 for un-husked rice and Tk 36 for husked rice per kilogram.
In reality, the farmers could not get benefitted by the government procurement system due to small amount against massive production and delayed procurement.
According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the food minister said that bumper rice production caused the lower price of un-husked rice this year and the farmer incurred the losses.
To support the farmers, the government would purchase more 2.5 lakh tonnes of rice from farmers, he said.
He also said that un-husked rice would be procured directly from farmers and supplied to the millers for husking. ‘We are looking for permanent solution to the problems,’ he said.
The minister also said that the government would build paddy silos at 200 places across the country with a total capacity of 10 lakh tonnes.
Agriculture minister Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, who also attended the meeting, laid high importance on agriculture and said that Bangladesh had become self-resilient in food production due to increased crop production.
He said the prime minister asked them to increase price of rice by procuring more un-husked rice directly from farmers and turning them husked rice through millers.
As moisture was the main problem for buying un-husked rice from farmers, so the government issued order to collect 3,000 pieces of moisture measurement machines which would be distributed at union level.
Using those machines, the farmers themselves would be able to measure moisture in their un-husked rice at their villages, he said.
Food secretary Shahabuddin Ahmed and senior officials were present at the meeting.
Farmers were compelled to sell 40 kg of boro un-husked rice at Tk 500-600 though their production cost was Tk 900 while a farm labour per day wage was Tk 500 this season. The government’s procurement rate is Tk 1,040 a tonne.
Agriculture experts told New Age that massive import of rice caused the low price of boro rice.
At the same time, the delayed procurement of rice by the millers could not leave any positive impact on the rice market, they said.
An estimated 1.80 crore tonnes of rice was produced during boro season every year, said officials at Department of Agricultural Extension.
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