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Bank & Finance - January 14, 2024

Rice price hiking in harvesting season

Syndicate active in rice market

Zarif Mahmud : Rice prices have increased in the wholesale and retail markets despite adequate supply. The retail price of miniket rice which was Tk 65 last week has now increased to Tk 70. According to retail and wholesale traders, record production of Aman paddy was recorded in the year just ended. There is no reason to increase the price. The price has been increased by syndicate.
Yesterday on Saturday, we visited Mohakhali raw market in the capital and saw that miniket rice is being sold at Tk70, Bri 28 rice at Tk55, Nazirshail at Tk75 to Tk80, Desi coarse rice at Tk50, Polao rice is being sold at Tk130 to Tk135. Besides, the price of all types of rice has increased by Tk 250 to Tk 300 per bag.
The concerned persons say that the price of rice has increased at the wholesale level due to the millers selling rice at a higher price on various pretexts. Which is affecting the retail market as well. Many are also pointing to the effect of the election.
40 percent of the total rice production in the country is during Amon season. According to sources of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Directorate of Agricultural Extension has undertaken the target of producing about 1 crore 71 lakh 78 thousand tons of rice in the current Amon season.
A total of 58 lakh 74 thousand hectares of land has been cultivated this year. So far 57 lakh 27 thousand hectares or 97 percent of the land has been harvested. 1 crore 70 lakh 93 thousand tons of rice has been produced from here. The average yield was 2.98 tons per hectare. 40 thousand hectares of paddy has been damaged due to various reasons.
Retail traders claim that the prices are being increased by hoarding rice in the hope of extra profit even though there is sufficient supply. Johnny, the businessman of Mohakhali raw market, said that the price of all types of rice has increased by Tk4 to Tk5; Which was less than last week. Wholesalers say the miller rate is high, hence the price hike. Mainly because of the syndicate, the price has gone up.
Shakeel Ahmed, owner of Yasin Traders said, there is no shortage of rice in the market, the supply is also good. However, the price of rice has increased. There is no possibility of price reduction in the next two-three months.
Asked whether the price has increased due to the election, he said that everyone wants to do business if they get benefits.
Abdul Quddus, the owner of Salim Rice Warehouse, said that despite the normal supply of rice, the price has increased due to the syndicate. Millers give various reasons, but mainly they raise prices deliberately. We have nothing to do either. If the government does not monitor properly, then the violence of this syndicate will not decrease.
Meanwhile, although the rice market has become volatile at times, the government has always struggled to control it. Therefore, the government is distributing low-cost rice to low-income people through various programs. In the current financial year, the activities of the government marketing organization TCB have been linked with these programs of the Ministry of Food. To stabilize the market, this government agency for the first time has added rice to its products, which the buyers are getting at a much lower price. All in all, more rice has been distributed by the government in the current financial year than any other period so far.
The government has not imported rice from abroad so far in the current financial year. In the fiscal year 2022-23, about 10 lakh 56 thousand tons of rice was imported into the country. Although the price of coarse and medium rice rose slightly last November, it came down in December. But within a month, the price started to rise again. According to the information of the Ministry of Food, about 14 lakh tons of rice is currently stored.

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