Volatile rice market

Step up measures to tame price spiral

Published : 10 Aug 2022 09:12 PM

Country’s rice market has turned volatile, causing immense sufferings to the livelihoods of the commoners. The prices of every variety of rice have gone up because of fuel price hike. Per kg coarse variety of rice especially Bri-28 is now being sold at Taka 55. Besides, the fine varieties also continue showing an upward trend since Saturday. 

On Wednesday one kg Nazirshail rice was sold at Taka 85. The price of rice has increased up to Taka five to Taka 15 per kg. Millers and traders have raised the rice price, saying the fare of trucks travelling to Dhaka from elsewhere in the country has increased by Tk 3,000 to Tk 5,000 based on the distance.

We are concerned over the unusual increase in the price of rice, the main staple food of the country alongside the prices of all kinds of daily essentials including, edible oil, lentil, fish, meat and vegetables. Making the fuel price an issue, an unholy nexus of mill owners, importers and hoarders has deliberately increased the price of the main staple food through syndication when the country’s common people have been facing economic hardship caused by Coronavirus pandemic coupled with Russia-Ukraine war. They had hoarded a large volume of paddy during the harvesting season and now they are creating an artificial crisis in order to make the rice price unstable in the markets across the country. 

The government should launch countrywide drive 

against illegal rice and paddy hoarders aiming to 

maintain smooth food supply chain for consumers

When the hardship of the low-income groups has deteriorated further amid persisting financial uncertainty, dishonest millers, hoarders, rice traders and rich farmers are now busy with stockpiling paddy to sell it after some days at higher prices. Earlier, the intelligence agency identifying a hoarding syndicate behind the rice price spiral, had suggested the government to take immediate stern actions against them. Besides, a study of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies says 50 large mills have the capacity to influence the supply and prices of the staple food. The government had also blacklisted 16,000 rice millers for manipulating rice price. The question is why the identified mill owners, importers and hoarders remain untouched?

The government should launch countrywide drive against illegal rice and paddy hoarders aiming to maintain smooth food supply chain for consumers. The relevant authorities will also have to take action against illegal rice hoarders and find out reasons of rice price hike. Authorities must also take stern legal actions if anybody tries to make rice market unstable. The government needs to open an immediate control room and form monitoring team to keep price of rice at tolerant level.