Confusion as rice prices soar during high season
Prices for rice, especially the coarse variety, in the capital’s kitchen markets have remained out of reach for consumers despite a booming market during Aman’s peak harvest season.
Most coarse varieties sold at 54-56 Tk per kg, medium at 64-65 Tk and finer unbranded at 78-92 Tk per kg – up 3-5 Tk in the last seven days, depending on markets groceries and cooking.
Branded finer rice from Brac (Aarong), Pran, ACI, Square, City Group and others were selling at previous highs of Tk 84-98 per kilogram.
Prices for cooking oil, bakery products and vegetables also rose in a week, hurting the poor and lower middle class who are suffering from inflation.
The price of poultry and eggs, among a few other protein products, fell slightly amid low customer presence, traders said.
Md Monir Hussain, wholesaler at Mohammadpur Cooking Market, said a small volume of Guti-Swarna entered the market two days earlier from Dinajpur but the cost was much higher considering any harvest season – 48.75 Tk to 49 Tk per kg.
The medium grade Swarna-5, finer varieties BRRI-34, Shampa Katari (sold as Najirshail) were not yet marketed, he said.
“The finer rice of the Boro season, like Jeera or Miniket, was supplied by the millers at Tk66-70 per kg, depending on the quality, and we sell it to retailers at Tk67-71 per kg,” he said. -he adds.
The vice president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), SM Nazer Hossain, said the government’s dithering to facilitate imports has wreaked havoc on consumers.
When a purchase rate in US dollars has exceeded Tk 110 and world rice prices have increased by 6-8% from the previous year, there is always more than 15% import duty on rice, he also said.
He says the private sector could only import 220,000 tons while they were allowed to bring in 1.4 million tons, which had no impact on the market.
He urged the government to make it a zero tariff for importing rice from anywhere in the world for a certain period of time.
“Market surveillance should also be stricter across the country to avoid any artificial price increases.”
Although market insiders are skeptical, the Ministry of Agriculture expects a production of 16.3 million tonnes of rice from 5.9 million hectares of land in the current Aman harvest.
The harvest was 23% complete by November 17.
The Aman season comprises 38% of the global rice supply.