Govt raises rice price by Tk 3 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 02, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 02, 2010

Procurement Drive

Govt raises rice price by Tk 3

The government has decided to buy limited quantity of rice from domestic market and import wheat to maintain its stock as high rice price is failing the public procurement target of 12 lakh tonnes this boro season.
In a meeting at the food ministry yesterday, the Food Policy and Monitoring Unit (FPMU) decided to make "incentive price" by increasing Tk 3 per kilogram to buy 2.37 lakh tonnes of rice.
The move came following demands of millers who were unwilling to supply the rice citing increased price.
The government targeted buying 11 lakh tonnes of rice at Tk 25 per kg and 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy at Tk 17 per kg between May and August, but so far it has signed agreements for only 5 lakh tonnes of rice.
Of the five lakh tonnes, millers have supplied 2.63 lakh tonnes and are denying supply of the rest saying price of rice in the northern districts is now Tk 27 per kg.
After checking rice prices in the north the government is now buying the 2.37 lakh tonnes at Tk 28 per kg. The "incentive price" will be paid to the millers after they supply it to the public stores, Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzaque told reporters after the FPMU meeting.
"This increase in rice price is actually a sort of incentive. We ourselves found the rice price in the northern rice hubs as Tk 27 a kg," he said.
Asked if this decision will contribute to rise in prices, he said this would not hike prices as the amount is very small. When the government fixed procurement price at Tk 25 a kg, it did not affect the market, he noted.
Razzaque said right now the government is not interested to buy rice from local market and wants to import wheat, which is available at quite a low price.
However, if rice prices fall, the government will buy rice from local market, he noted.
"As a democratic government we don't want to control market by police or Rab; we prefer a solution on the basis of dialogues," he said.
According to the ministry officials, there is 2 lakh tonnes of wheat in the public stock, while 2 lakh tonnes more are on the way. Besides, the government will float tenders to import 3.5 lakh tonnes of wheat this month, the minister noted.
"Instead of rice, we can provide wheat for social safety net programmes," Razzaque said.
Presently, there is a stock of 7 lakh tonnes of food grains, and importing wheat can make the stock stronger, he noted.
Chaired by Food Minister Abdur Razzaque, the meeting was also attended by Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan and high officials of the ministries concerned.

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