Aman acreage expands
Farmers have expanded Aman paddy cultivation this season encouraged by favourable weather and better prices for the staple in domestic markets.
The acreage of transplanted Aman rose 4.3 per cent to 56.2 lakh hectares this season from 53.8 lakh hectares the previous year, showed data from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
The planted area is higher than the DAE's target of 55.7 lakh hectares, said the organisation's Director General Md Asadullah.
"Farmers could cultivate most of the area as we did not see floods this year. And until now, the crop looks good," he added.
Supported by monsoon rains, Aman is the second biggest rice crop, accounting for about 38 per cent of the total annual rice output of 3.76 crore tonnes in fiscal 2020-21.
The DAE official went on to say that farmers have started harvesting early maturing varieties.
Some 21,000 hectares of paddy have already been harvested and 70,000 hectares will be harvested in the next one week, Asadullah said.
Nirod Boron Saha, president of the Naogaon Dhanno-Chal Aratdar O Babosayee Samity, an association of rice and paddy wholesalers in the rice hub, said overall growth of Aman has been good aside from pest attacks in some areas.
"Rice prices will likely remain stable until mid-January next year if weather remains favourable," he added.
Rice prices have been increasing for the last two years amid stockpiling and slow delivery by millers and farmers amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Prices of coarse grain, the benchmark grain, touched at Tk 47 per kilogramme in July, the highest since September 2017, according to data from the Department of Agricultural Marketing.
Prices of the staple declined marginally later amid imports.
As of October 18 this year, public and private agencies imported nearly six lakh tonnes of rice since the beginning of fiscal 2021-22 in July.
Total rice imports stood at 13.59 lakh tonnes the previous year, showed data from the food ministry.