Farmers have almost completed the harvest of aman rice, the nation’s 2nd largest source of cereal but due to low price they are incurring heavy losses.
The government’s procurement programme failed to provide any relief to the growers.
Growers said that they were forced to sell 40 kg of un-husked rice for Tk 700 much below their production cost of around Tk 1,000.
Farmers said that the government began procuring un-husked aman rice for Tk 1,040 but not directly from the growers.
The government announced earlier that it would procure 10 lakh tonnes of aman rice, six lakh tonne of un-husked rice and four lakh tonnes of rice.
Food department director for procurement Zulfiqar Rahman told New Age Wednesday that they just began procuring of un-husked rice from growers at 16 locations across the country.
About 1.5 lakh farmers were enlisted for procuring their rice and their prices would be paid through banks, he said.
He, however, said that procurement of six lakh tonnes of un-husked rice out of total production of 1.53 crore tonnes would leave little impact.
According to food ministry, procurement started on November 20 and would continue until February 28.
From November 20 to December 22, the government procured only 22, 6 67 tonnes of husked rice from the millers, according to the food ministry website.
Food ministry officials said that they were procuring more husked rice from the millers as they had the capacity to supply moisture free dry rice.
They said that aman price would increase after the government procures in massive scales from the growers and the millers.
Sohel Bhuiyan, a miller at Sararchar Bazaar, Bajitpur, Kishoreganj told New Age that newly harvested rice was selling at Tk 700 per 40kg.
On Tuesday, a coordination meeting on rice procurement was held at Deputy Commissioner’s office in Cox’s Bazar, where the food department officials stressed the need for procuring more husked rice’s from the millers.
An official who attended the meeting told New Age that about 300 tonnes of un-husked rice was procured against the local target of 8,781 tonnes.
Until December 24, said department of agricultural extension officials about 98 per cent of aman rice was harvested.
DAE director for field service wing Chandi Das Kundu told New Age that the per hectare production of aman husked rice was about 2.89 tonnes.
He said that the cyclonic Bulbul caused some damage to the aman crop in the coastal areas in November.
In last boro season also farmers incurred heavy losses and in protest some of them burnt their crops or threw away their rice after harvest.
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