The rice procurement centres of the government are failing to attract their enlisted Aman growers in Patuakhali despite setting a higher price per maund, Tk 1,040, than local markets.
An enlisted grower would be allowed to sell between 120 kilograms and three tonnes of paddy at the centres.
Over the past 24 days, the centres in the district were able to procure only 50 tonnes of Aman paddy against their targeted procurement of 15,075 tonnes.
The government procurement centres started buying paddy on December 4. But “as of December 28, we procured only 50 tonnes due to the reluctance of the growers,” said BM Shafiqul Islam, acting food controller in Patuakhali.
“Although the information on the launching of the paddy procurement was announced over laud speakers in all upazilas, response that we received from the [enlisted] Aman growers was not according to our expectations.”
According to a list prepared by the Directorate of Food under the food ministry, 21,930 Aman growers in Patuakhali would be able to sell their produce to the procurement centres set up by the government, he added.
Rafiqul Islam, training officer at Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), said after spending Tk 20 for producing a maund of Aman, an enlisted grower can sell the same amount of paddy to government procurement centres for Tk 1,040.
The growers would make a higher profit if they sold their paddy at the procurement centres, said DAE Deputy Director Redoyewshor Datta.
He also said Patuakhali’s primary crop is Aman and it is the second highest Aman producing district in the country. A bumper yield of 7.1 lakh tonnes is expected from 2.02 lakh hectares of land in the district this year.
However, many enlisted growers pointed out that at least a couple of setbacks is holding them back from selling their crop to the government procurement facilities.
They said they prefer upfront cash payment for the goods they sell, rather than receiving the payment later in an account with a particular bank prescribed by the government.
Some of them said they already opened a bank account and taking lessons from that experience, they do not want to go through the same cumbersome hassles over again to open another account with a new bank.
Another drawback for the growers is the requirement of selling only dried paddy at the government facilities as the process of drying is not only time-consuming, but also costlier for the growers, said the Aman growers.
Enlisted Aman grower Abdul Jalil Hawlader, from Puran Mohipur village in Kalapara upazila, said he harvested 100 maunds of Aman this year.
Even though the rate he got was Tk 550 per maund, it was more convenient for him to sell 40 maunds of wet Aman paddy, just after threshing, at local market for Tk 22,000.
He said it would neither be profitable nor worth the effort for him to go through the hassles of drying the paddy and opening a new bank account, just to sell it to the government procurement centre.