The country’s rice market will be stable soon. At present there is a food stock of 2 million tonnes, which is highest ever. Meanwhile, new rice will come in the market in April. As a result, rice prices will soon be normal.
Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzque made the remarks while exchanging views with journalists after attending a session of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food as the chief guest at the Deputy Commissioners' Conference at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar, Agriculture Secretary Md Saidul Islam, Food Secretary Moshammat Nazmanara Khanum were present.
Explaining the reason for increase in rice prices, the agriculture minister said, “Recently the price of rice in the country has been somewhat volatile and upward. Food prices have also risen sharply in the international market. Wheat, which is used to be sold at USD 230 to USD 280 per tonne, has risen to USD 450. In the fiscal year 2020-21, the country had imported 48 lakh tonnes of wheat, and in this fiscal year till January only 16 lakh tonnes were imported. Wheat imports are declining due to rising prices.”
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“As a result, the price of flour is higher than that of rice, but the price of flour is always lower than rice. Besides, there are 1 million Rohingyas in the country. Almost 22 lakh to 24 lakh new faces are being added every year. Some of the rice is also being used as animal feed. With these, the demand and consumption of rice has increased. However, there is no food crisis in the country at the moment, nor will there be in the future,” added the agriculture minister.
The minister said, "Why should the price of crop which farmers sell at Tk 15 per kilogram (kg) at the field level, becomes an item of Tk 40 to Tk 45 per kg when it comes to Dhaka? There are middlemen all over the world, but why would there be such a difference in price? There are many unforeseen costs involved in transportation, including extortion.”
“The deputy commissioners, the Cabinet Division and the Ministry of Agriculture will jointly conduct a study to find out the cost from the field level to reach Dhaka. Action will be taken nationally to resolve the issues through the study,” the minister added.