Staff Correspondent: Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder yesterday said rice will be imported from abroad alongside strengthening domestic rice procurement in the country to keep the rice market stable.
“We are working sincerely to keep rice market stable. Rice will be imported from abroad. Non-basmati cooked rice will be imported soon under private management by imposing 25 per cent tax,” he said.
He made the remarks while addressing a virtual meeting on ‘Overall Food Grain Management of the Country’ from his official residence in the capital last afternoon.
Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzaque and Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi also spoke virtually in the meeting.
Sadhan said marginal farmers had sold paddy long ago and mill owners said that many non-farmers are stockpiling paddy in the hope of making extra profit. “If anyone has illegal stocks, they must be brought under the law,” the minister said.
Agriculture Minister Razzaque said farmers have got a fair price for paddy in the country.
“If we control the market by importing rice, then the real farmers will not be harmed,” he added.
Noting that agricultural land is constantly declining, he said food security must be ensured by increasing production. He added that accurate statistics on food demand are needed.
He also stressed on keeping the market price stable by importing rice from countries where rice prices are low without stopping government rice procurement.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said if there were no accurate figures or statistics on food demand, more imports could be detrimental to farmers and less imports could be a nuisance to consumers.
He said, Bangladesh has an agriculture-based economy, so the government needs to increase the purchasing power of the people by increasing the number of factories besides agriculture.
Senior Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Md Mesbahul Islam, Secretary of the Ministry of Food Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti, Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Director General Md Asadullah and Director General of the Food Department Sheikh Muzibur Rahman were also present, on the occasion.
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