Relaxation of rice export ban
Farmers not getting benefit of high prices of aromatic riceTapos Kanti Das and Shahidul Huda Alok
The poor and marginal farmers who had cultivated aromatic rice in the last aman season are not getting the benefit of price hike as they have no stock of the rice now.
Farmers and field level officials of Department of Agricultural Extension of different areas said farmers generally cultivate the aromatic rice not for their own consumption but for selling to get better prices.
The millers buy their production just after harvest, stock them and the whole benefit of increased prices goes to the millers.
A few affluent farmers, however, have some stock of aromatic rice, they said.
Aromatic rice prices had gone up by almost 50 per cent and were now being retailed for Tk 70 to Tk 110 a kilogram, depending on their quality after the government’s food planning and monitoring committee on March 27 decided to allow export of aromatic rice. The price was Tk 60 to Tk 75 a kg two weeks ago.
Earlier on May 19, 2009, the commerce ministry had imposed a ban on exports of all kinds of rice.
Officials in the Department of Agricultural Extension in Dhaka said BR 34 and a few traditional species of kataribhog, kalijira and chinigura are cultivated in the aman season and is harvested from late December.
Most of the aromatic rice is cultivated in northern districts in the country.
Farmers and traders said a sack of 40 kilograms of aromatic rice was now selling for Tk 1,800 to Tk 1,900 against its price of Tk 1,150 to Tk 1,200 just after the harvest.
Besides cooking boiled rice, aromatic rice is used for preparing delicious food items including frumenty, pilau and biriani.
‘Like other farmers, I have sold all my kataribhog rice for Tk 1200 a 40-kg sack just after the harvest and now we have no stock,’ Durga Mohon Roy of village Sahebganj under Dinajpur sadar upazila in Dinajpur told New Age.
‘We never stock aromatic rice. The millers stock them and they are getting the benefit of its price hike, not the farmers,’ said farmer Amir Hossain of Nezampur under Nachol in Chapainawabganj.
Owner of Nabab Auto-Rice Mill at Jhulonpur under Chapainawabganj sadar upazila, Akbor Hossain, however, said, ‘We did not stock aromatic rice.’
North Bengal Rice Mills Association general secretary KM Layek Ali claimed that the farmers were certainly benefited from the price hike.
Bangladesh Krishok Samity president Morshed Ali disagreed with millers’ opinion and said there was no stock of aromatic rice now in the hands of the general farmers and so the stockiest and the millers are getting benefit from the price hike.
Layek also said that the amount of the aromatic rice produced in the last aman season was much less than that of the previous aman season in most of the aromatic rice growing northern region due to a severe pest attack.
Rajshahi DAE additional director Bikash Indu Mandal, however, denied there was any pest attack in the northern region in the last aman season.
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