Rice prices rise in Dhaka: Traders smell a rat!

Shafiqul Islam
Published : 05:00, Jul 06, 2018 | Updated : 13:32, Jul 06, 2018

Under tax reduction facility, 5.6 million tonnes of rice were imported.The price of rice is rising; in Dhaka main markets, a kilogram (kg) of Miniket variety is Tk 66, whereas the Nazirshail is between Tk 65 and 68. But these two varieties are way cheaper outside Dhaka.
Buyers blame unscrupulous traders and their subterfuge for the artificial hike in rice rates.They feel that price hike is being justified by the re-imposition of 28 percent import duty.
Last year, due to floods, around 2.6 million tonnes of crops were affected; at such a state, government met the crisis by importing rice and reduced duty from 28 to 10 and, finally, to 2 percent.
Under this tax reduction facility, 5.6 million tonnes of rice were imported.
This year, the country has seen bumper production and total rice reserve may exceed 40 million tonnes. But for some odd reason, the price of rice is increasing.
To ensure that farmers get the right price, the government decided to buy coarse rice at Tk 38 taka per kg. In the rural markets, fine rice is also being sold between Tk 48 and 49.
Nizamuddin, a Babubazaar rice trader told Bangla Tribune: “During Eid, there was a crisis in transport; the cost to bring one truck of rice from Dinajpur was between Tk 25,000 and 28,000.”
Now that cost has shot up to something between Tk 32,000 and 35,000. To transport from Naogaon, the price is Tk 40,000.
He also cited shortage of labourers and helpers needed in trucks for long road journeys.
Rice trader Laek Ali told Bangla Tribune: “There is no shortage of rice in the country; the price only rose in Dhaka and the culprits are unethical traders.”
Laek Alo also raised questions about the 5.6 million tonnes of imported rice, asking: “Who consumed that rice. There are also talks of a bumper harvest; is this real or concocted?”
If there are incongruities in these figures then they should be unearthed, he demanded.
In the world market, the price of rice has fallen by $35 in each tonne, standing at below $400.
At such a moment, rice traders have increased the rate by 5 percent.
Bangladesh has produced 20 million tonnes of Boro rice; Aman around 15 million tonnes and there was the imported 5.6 million tonnes. Against a demand of 32.5 million tonnes, the country had around 40 million tonnes.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam told Bangla Tribune: “The price rise is temporary; it will fall and there’s no reason for concern.”