The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) yesterday called for Tk 5,000 cash subsidy for the country’s nearly two crore farmers to help them offset the losses for their boro harvest because of the low paddy prices.
“An injustice was done to farmers because of the lower price of paddy this year and the government did not take the right decision at the right time,” said Debapriya Bhattacharya, a distinguished fellow of the CPD, at the unveiling of the think-tank’s report on the state of the economy and the budgetary challenges.
There was no such mismanagement in any economic sector in Bangladesh like in case of paddy purchasing.
A farmer had to spend Tk 24,000 to grow one tonne of paddy, which the millers bought for Tk 15,000, inflicting a Tk 9,000 loss on farmers per tonne, according to growers and the agriculture ministry.
The government, in turn, bought paddy from millers at Tk 26,000 a tonne, giving them a Tk 5,850 profit outright.
“Under the circumstances, a farmer deserves Tk 5,000 to make up for the losses,” he added.
About Tk 9,100 crore may be required in the budget for the one-off incentive for rice growers, according to the civil society think-tank.
“I don’t see any problem for the government in providing subsidy to rice growers as they have not got fair price of their boro harvest,” he said at the event held at the Cirdap auditorium in Dhaka.
The government does not purchase paddy directly from farmers; rather, it collects rice from millers, said Toufiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow of the think-tank.
The production cost of paddy rose in villages because of the wage hike of workers. On the contrary, the price of paddy fell.
He suggested adoption of technology to bring down the production cost and higher production.