Bumper rice growth; foreign import causing price fall

Bipul Sarkar Sunny, Dinajpur
Published : 02:00, May 25, 2019 | Updated : 02:00, May 25, 2019

Despite putting in a lot of hard work, farmers are not getting the right price for their paddy; on the other hand, huge rice has been imported from India though import has fallen with tax raised from 28 to 55 percent.
Mill owners and traders say that due to import, price of local rice has fallen and specialists feel that unless import is stopped, local producers will face a crisis.
Farmers say that if they face persistent loss then they will lose interest to grow paddy and be forced to change their profession.
As per agriculture department, the total rice production last year was 36.2 million tonnes. This year, the target is 35.5 million tonnes.
Revenue official of the Hili land port Nur Amin, says: “This year, from January till May 19, rice import has been 44,086 tonnes.”
Deputy-director of Dinajpur district agriculture extension department, Touhidul Iqbal, says: “This year, Boro has been cultivated over 174,000 hectares of land and, already, the farmers have begun cutting paddy. The total amount of rice will be 1.12 million metric tonnes.”
However, only 5,048 metric tonnes will be bought from the farmers, he added.
District food controller, Mohammad Asrafuzzaman, says: “We cannot buy rice from everyone; preference is given to women farmers through lottery.”
Farmers in Dinajpur say the main crisis this year is the low price of rice. As a result, cutting paddy with workers is a loss because in the end, the expense is not recovered.
A farmer has to spend Tk 700 to Tk 750 to grow each mound of rice but is forced to sell it for Tk 500 to Tk 550.
Many farmers are selling their produce at a loss.
Professor Dr A T M Shafiqul Islam of the Haji Mohamamd Danesh University of Science and Technology, says: “Since the weather was favourable in the last few years, the production has been bumper; at such a stage, importing rice is only adding to the woes of the farmers since they are forced to sell at low rates.”