Commerce Secretary of Bangladesh government recently assured that Govt. to allow rice export to make balance in supply and demand of country’s rice market and ensure fair prices of the staple. He also said that the millers agreed with the decision as the growers are not getting proper prices due to oversupply.
The government wants to export the coarse variety of rice as its production and supply is higher than that of the finer ones. Moreover, the finer varieties are higher in demand among the middle class and allowing its export might lead to shortages in the domestic market.
Following bumper production in the boro season, growers have been complaining of not getting fair prices, prompting the government to give go-ahead to rice export.
The quantity that can be exported will be fixed in consultation with the food ministry once a clear picture of the existing stocks is available.
It has been estimated that, producing one maund of paddy cost farmers Tk 960 on an average, including family labour, interest on working capital and lease or rent of land. But the sales prices of per maund of paddy recorded at local markets hovered between Tk 550 and Tk 600.
In the boro season, farmers cultivated 49.33 lakh hectares of land around the country, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE). The bumper production in the current boro and last aman seasons played a vital role in pulling down the prices.
In the last aman season, rice production stood at 1.53 crore tonnes, exceeding the target by 13 lakh tonnes. The total production in 2017-18 was 3.63 crore tonnes, DAE data showed. Bangladesh consumes 3.52 crore tonnes of rice per year, as per the US Department of Agriculture data.
According to the Directorate General of Food, Bangladesh has the capacity to store 20.23 lakh tonnes of rice. Under an ongoing food grain procurement programme, the government intends to buy only 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy from farmers, which is less than 1 percent of the around 1.96 crore tonnes that are estimated to be produced this boro season.
In this regard, Govt. takes the decision to export, shortly they will decide which quality of rice to be exported.