The government is planning to provide exporters with up to 30 percent incentive to promote rice export, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said yesterday.
The comment came amid an outcry over falling prices of paddy and rice in the domestic market, resulting from good harvest of the Boro crop and higher public and private stock of imported rice.
“Low prices of Boro crop is not acceptable at all. We are going to take some quick measures to improve the situation,” the minister said at a press briefing at his office in the secretariat.
Besides, the government has decided to provide a subsidy of Tk 3,000 crore to help farmers buy farm machinery at a cheaper price so that they can minimise labour costs for the production, he said.
“If we want to make agriculture profitable, we must use more machinery because the labour price is very high,” Razzaque said.
Last week, the National Board of Revenue hiked import tariff on rice to 55 percent from the previous 28 percent, he said.
Now, the government plans to allow the export of 10-15 lakh tonnes of rice by providing incentives to exporters.
The incentive would help Bangladeshi exporters compete with Indian and Vietnamese ones in negotiating prices in the international market, he added.
In addition, the government has taken some long-term measures, including announcing paddy procurement price in advance, raising the capacity of public storages and increasing the volume of paddy procurement to 50 lakh tonnes in phases.
“Discouraging import and encouraging export is another major plan to ensure fair prices for farmers,” said Razzaque.
He said one of the major factors behind the fall in rice prices was high import in the fiscal 2017-18 owing to low duty.
The government first reduced duty on rice import to 10 percent in June 2017. Later in August, the duty was further reduced to 2 percent to raise the stock of rice due to crop losses in recurrent floods.
The import tariff was then increased to 28 percent at the beginning of the current fiscal, according to the National Board of Revenue.