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Bangladesh - 3 weeks ago

Rice under control of truck syndicate

Instability in markets

Ayub Ali, Ctg: After onion and sugar, instability has started in wholesale rice market in Chittagong. Which has an impact on the retail market as well. In one of Chittagong’s Chaktai and Pahartali wholesale markets, the price of rice in a 50 kg sack has increased by Tk 200 to Tk 550 in a week.
Rice traders say that the price of rice in the market has increased due to the sudden increase in truck fares at an unfair rate for transporting rice from the Northern region to Chittagong in a day and the supply decreased in the middle of the beginning of Boro season paddy harvesting.
Although the government has allowed the import of 83,000 tons of rice to keep the price of rice normal, traders believe that most of this rice will not be imported due to the start of the new season along with the dollar crisis.
Omar Azam, a major trader of Chittagong Chaktai wholesale market and General Secretary of Chittagong Rice Traders Association told, “At this time of the year, the price of rice sometimes increases and sometimes decreases. Because the supply of rice in the market decreases or increases near the beginning of the new season.
Prices have not increased in the past few years due to normal supply. This time there is some shortage in supply. Due to which the price of rice has increased as usual.
He said that due to the start of the new potato cold storage process, the supply of rice transport trucks decreased slightly, so the truck rent increased. By the end of the week it has decreased. However, new paddy harvesting will start in next 20-25 days. As soon as new rice comes in the market, the price will come down. In Chittagong, the wholesale rice stores are all in Chaktai and Pahartali markets. From here, rice is supplied to neighboring districts including Chittagong. Grocers and upazila level wholesalers collect rice from Chaktai and Pahartali and sell it to consumers. Due to the increase in the price of rice in the wholesale market, the price has also increased in the retail market.
The government has allowed 30 companies to import 83 thousand tons of rice privately to control the price of rice in the country’s market. On March 21, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Food. This approval was given in a circular signed by Habibur Rahman Hoshaini. Of this, 49 thousand tons of boiled rice and 34 thousand tons of steamed rice. The allocation order mentions that rice can contain maximum 5 percent broken grains. In order to quickly overcome the crisis in the rice market, conditions have been set for marketing the imported rice by April 25.
According to the sources of the Ministry of Food, 10 lakh 56 thousand tons of rice was imported in the financial year 2022-23, 9 lakh 88 thousand in the financial year 2021-22 and 13 lakh 59 thousand tons in the financial year 2020-21. No rice has been imported so far in the current financial year.
Traders said that even if the import of rice is allowed, it will not be possible to import a large part of this rice. Zafar Uddin, vice-president of Pahartali Bazaar Traders Association told, “The price of rice has never increased at this time in the past year. This time due to some shortage in supply, the price of rice has increased. In the last one week, the price of rice has suddenly increased from Tk 200 to Tk 300 per bag. Now it is decreasing from Tk 50 to Tk 100 again.
He thinks that even if the import of rice is allowed, a large part will not be imported. He said, ‘It will take about a month to open the LC and bring the rice to the country. Also opening LC is not easy due to dollar crisis. Moreover, if everyone opens the LC together, all the rice will arrive in the country at the same time. At the same time, new season rice will be available in the market. That is why there is little possibility of import of large portion of rice that is allowed.
Talking to the traders of Chaktai and Pahartali markets on Sunday, it is known that in the last one week, the price has increased from Tk 200 to Tk 550 per bag of 50 kg. Noor Jahan Swarna Boiled Rice is known as coarse rice in the market. This rice is consumed more by low and lower middle-income people. In the current market price of Noorjahan Swarna boiled rice per 50 kg is Tk 2,550. Even a week ago, the price of this rice was Tk 2,400. Even a year ago, the price of these rice was close to Tk 2,300.
Jirashail variety of rice is valued in the market. This rice is used more in big rituals with hosts. The rice is also marketed as 28-bri parboiled rice. At present, the price of 50 kg of Jirashail boiled rice in the market is Tk 3,550 to Tk 3,600. A week ago, it was Tk 3,300 to Tk 3,320.
Jirashail, miniket and 28-bri Atap rice are being sold at three thousand rupees in the wholesale market. Even a week ago, the price of these rice was Tk 2,700. The price of coarse Atap rice used for relief work has also increased. These rice are supplied to the Rohingyas. On Sunday, the price of a 50 kg bag of these rice was Tk 2,330 to Tk 2,350. A week ago, the price of these rice was Tk 2,100. A year ago,these rice were Tk 1900.
25 kg of Nazirshail rice is being sold at Tk 1,950 in the market now it Tk 3,900 for 50 kg. Even a week ago, the price of these chalas was Tk 3,400. Similarly, the price of Katari rice of 25 kg is Tk 1,750. The price of these rice is Tk 3,500 for two sacks of 50 kg. A week ago, the price of the same rice was Tk 3,200.
Jahedul Islam Shaon, director of M/s Sekandar Hossain of Chaktai told, “Most of the rice comes from the northern part of the country to Chittagong market. Last week, the trucks syndicated and increased the rice transport fare in Chittagong by Tk 5-6 thousand. Transport fare from Naogaon, Bogra, Mahadevpur is Tk 24 thousand. Last week, the rent of these trucks was Tk 30 thousand.
Dinajpur comes from Sherpur for Tk 29 thousand. Last week it became Tk 35 thousand. It comes from Ashuganj for Tk 15 thousand. The rent there is Tk 21 thousand. From Habiganj, instead of Tk 23 thousand, the rent became Tk 28 thousand. This is also a reason for the increase in the price of rice. However, with government intervention, truck fares have been normalized since Thursday. This week it is reduced from Tk 50 to Tk 100 per bag.
Ali Hossain, a truck driver who brought rice from Chatal in Ashuganj area to Chaktai in Chittagong told, “The truck fare increased last week. Basically, there is no fixed truck fare on any route across the country. If there is a demand for trucks in the market, then the rent increases. It happens all over the country. Now I am coming to Chittagong with a rent of Tk 22 thousand as before.
He said, “Truck drivers cannot fix the fare directly from the owner of the goods (goods). Drivers are not aware of the day’s market in the district they visit. There are brokers in different parts of the country. Rent through them. It is the brokers who basically take most of the increased rent.
Chittagong Regional Food Controller SM Kaiser Ali told, “We had a target of 57 thousand tons of rice collection in Chittagong during the last Aman season. Of this, boiled rice was 46 thousand tons. We have managed to collect 95 percent of it. At present we also have the necessary stock of government rice.

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