Rice prices still high despite higher yield
Aman paddy harvesting season has begun, but the general mass is struggling to buy rice as the price of the staple food is still high in the local market.
The low-income group specially the daily earners are failing to make their ends meet as they now have to spend most of their income to buy rice.
Rice is being sold at Tk 55-60 a kilogramme in the local market and it has remained almost the same in the last four months.
In Lalmonirhat, aman paddy was cultivated on 86,436 hectares of land this year and 263,630 tonnes of rice were produced, according to the local office of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
In Kurigram, 355,000 tonnes of rice were produced on 119,965 hectares of land.
"I buy rice at Tk 55-60 a kg now, which was Tk 45-50 at the same time last year," said Abed Ali, a 56-year-old day labourer from Kulaghat village in Lalmonirhat sadar.
Rice price did not reduce, rather it continued rising even in the paddy harvesting season this year, he said.
"I thought rice will become cheaper when the aman paddy season will begin. But it didn't happen. I now have to spend most of my earning to buy rice," said 50-year-old rickshaw puller Ansar Ali from Lalmonirhat town.
On the contrary, Kurigram's farmer Didar Hossaini said they got expected paddy yield this year and the paddy price is currently hovering around Tk 1,100 a maund, up from Tk 900-950 in the same period last year.
"I have harvested 142 maunds of paddy from 10 bighas of land. I sold only 20 maunds at Tk 1,100 per unit and stored the rest at home to gain more profit in future."
"There is no sign of a reduction in rice prices this year, as the farmers do not want to sell paddy at present to book higher profits," said Abdar Hossain, a rice mill owner of Kurigram's Nageshwari upazila.
"Rice production cost rose this year, as the farmers had to cultivate aman paddy with irrigation water because of a lack of rain during the planting of paddy," Hamidur Rahman, deputy director of the Lalmonirhat DAE, told The Daily Star.
"However, this year's paddy yield was better than last year and the farmers are happy with the current market price of paddy."