Why is rice market so volatile?

Shafiqul Islam
Published : 09:45, Nov 22, 2019 | Updated : 13:21, Nov 23, 2019

File photo of Rice. shop PHOTO/Rajib DharWhile the price of onions has started to fall, the rice market shows signs of volatility; in a matter of three to four days, the price of all kinds of rice has risen by Tk 5 to Tk 7 per kg.
Traders say that the hike is due to problems in supply. But the government says that there is enough rice and the price hike is illogical.
Food ministry sources say in the last fiscal year, (2018-2019), the total rice production in the country was 34.45 million tonne and the yearly demand in the country is 28.42 million tonne.
This means, 469 grammes of rice per person per day. By that token, there’s enough rice in the country.
Citing the transport strike as an excuse, traders are eyeing quick profit. When the government has tackled the onion crisis, some unscrupulous traders wanted to artificially raise the price of salt.
However, the government firmly handled the situation and now; there is a conspiracy to upend the rice market.
Some traders want to exploit the strike called by transport workers and create unrest in the rice market. They insist that since trucks are not running, rice could not come from Natore, Joypurhat, Naogaon and Kushtia.
Meanwhile, Food Minister, Shadhan Chandra Mazumder, said: “Even if the strike goes on for ten days, there won’t be any adverse impact on the rice market. If someone does not resort to shenanigans, the price of rice will remain stable.”
Ministries of Home, Commerce and the Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection, were instructed to prevent market maneuvering, said the Minister.
A rice trader says that he sold per kg Nazirshail for Tk 60, instead of Tk 55.
Miniket and IRRI varieties have seen a Tk 5 to Tk 7 price hike.
Reportedly, the rice reserve has fallen in the last two days due to strike. General Secretary of Bangladesh Husking Rice Mill Owners’ Association, Layek Ali, said: “No trucks are operating in Naogaon and there is no way to send rice to the capital so the price has fallen here; the price hike in the capital has been engineered by the traders.”