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Agricultural sector of Bangladesh has developed much but the fate of farmers is yet to change. Farmers are not getting the fair price for their produce thus losing their interest to cultivate rice. Reportedly, the middlemen have minted almost taka 360 crore from marginal and small farmers profit during the current Boro season. Though the government had earlier declared to procure rice from the farmers, for many reasons, the farmers have not yet received any profit. As there is no infrastructure to buy rice directly from the farmers, the lion’s share of the farmers’ profit is taken by the middlemen. Therefore, it high time for the authorities concerned to build infrastructure to buy rice directly from the farmers,
Earlier, the government decided to buy Boro rice paddy at Tk 26 per kg and rice at Tk 38 per kg directly from the farmers but the decision changed later. Consequently, more than 1 crore small and marginal farmers have been deprived of their estimated profit. Reportedly, there are more than 2 crore cardholder farmers in the country and among them 1 crore are small and marginal farmers.
Experts assert that most of the farmers in Bangladesh are sharecroppers. They produce rice by taking loan from the money lenders. In the past few years, we experienced that during harvest time, money lenders force the farmers to pay the loan and thus compel them to sell the rice at a lower price.
According to reports, the production cost of Boro rice was Tk 36 per kg this year and so the government decided to buy it at Tk 38 per kg. Thus Boro farmers were supposed to receive Tk 2 per kg more than they did last year. However, as the farmers could not sell their produce to the government, the middlemen and mill owners have earned more than taka 360 crore from the small farmers’ profit.
It is said as per the internal collection policy of the Directorate of Food, a cardholder farmer will be able to sell minimum 80 kg and maximum 3 tonnes of rice to the government. This initiative was taken to influence farmers to grow rice.
But due of lack of infrastructure to buy rice directly from the farmers, government procured rice from millers and wholesalers who became the actual beneficiaries of the government’s increased rate for rice and paddy. Thus farmers are now cultivating more profitable crops like fruits and vegetables in lieu of rice. Therefore, we urge authorities concerned to immediately build an infrastructure system to procure rice directly from the farmers in order to ensure their estimated profit.