Govt to buy more local wheat
The government plans to buy 1.5 lakh tonnes of wheat from the domestic market to build up its stocks, an official said yesterday.
The move will also cushion the growers against risks of falling prices in the current season, he said.
"We want to provide an incentive to the farmers," said Ahmed Hossain Khan, director general of Directorate General of Food.
The government bought 98,500 tonnes of wheat last fiscal year.
During the current fiscal year, the government has so far bought 8.68 lakh tonnes of rice out of its target to buy 15 lakh tonnes of food grains, including wheat, according to the food ministry.
Khan said the food directorate plans to buy higher quantity of wheat this year considering the prospect of a good harvest, which will begin by the middle of next month.
So far, the prospects for wheat look bright amid increased acreage and favourable weather in the major growing districts, officials said.
Wheat cultivation area rose 23 percent to 4.42 lakh hectares in the current growing season from 3.58 lakh hectares a year ago, according to the estimate of the Department of Agricultural Extension.
Farmers bagged 9.95 lakh tonnes of wheat last year, up 2.57 percent from the previous year's 9.70 lakh tonnes, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
Production may be about 13 lakh tonnes this year, said Md Badrul Hassan, director (procurement) of the Directorate General of Food.
Naresh Chandra Deb Barma, chief scientific officer of wheat research centre at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, said the government purchase keeps the local market vibrant and thus helps farmers.
However, the government's purchase price is yet to be set.
Khan of the food directorate said the price will be determined within the second week of March.
Last year, the food ministry bought locally grown wheat at Tk 24 each kilogram.
Barma suggested the food ministry should not import wheat during the procurement period.
Bangladesh meets two-thirds of its annual demand for wheat of 30 lakh tonnes through import.
Some 10.47 lakh tonnes of wheat was imported during July-February of the current fiscal year, down from 11.16 lakh tonnes in the same period last year. The private sector was the main importer.