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Government paddy procurement fails: Jessore paddy farmers rush to millers for higher prices and no extra hassle

  • Published at 01:01 pm June 10th, 2020
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A farmer receives cash after selling his paddy to a local miller at Khajura Bazar in Bagherpara upazila of Jessore on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

The demand for paddy is high at the local markets this year and it is expected to remain unchanged till August-September, which is why the price is also unlikely to fall

The government’s paddy procurement project, which began almost a month ago, is failing to acquire paddy from farmers in Jessore. 

While government food officials are offering prices lower than the market price, they are also making paddy procurement a troublesome process for farmers. 

While talking to farmers who came to sell paddy at a local market yesterday, this correspondent learned about some of the difficulties faced by farmers when selling their paddy to government agents.

According to farmers, government food officials often reject paddy, saying it contained too much moisture, whereas the millers happily accepted it.

Besides, even after thoroughly cleaning the paddy before handing it over to government agents, which is not necessary when selling paddy to millers, the farmers still hear the complaint that the produce is not clean enough.

And last but not least, government agents always measure per maund of paddy at 43-44 kg (3-4 kg extra).

Meanwhile, District Food Officer Liakat Ali said: “We are calling farmers according to the list, only to find that none of them are willing to sell their paddy at the government-set price as they are getting higher prices at the local markets.”

He also confirmed that food officials had been instructed to collect perfectly cleaned paddy with the moisture level below 14%.

Delwar Hossain, a miller at Khajura Bazar, said: “The demand for paddy is high at the local markets this year. Farmers are easily getting Tk1,000 per maund for their paddy.”

The demand is expected to remain unchanged till August-September, which is why the price is also unlikely to fall, he added.

According to the district agriculture office, farmers in the district have cultivated paddy on 154,615 hectares, producing almost 974,000 tons of paddy due to favourable weather conditions this year.

Farmer Abdus Samad, of Johurpur in Bagherpara upazila, said that he had cultivated paddy on a 35-bigha land this year. “I reaped 700 maunds of paddy and have already sold it off at Tk1,070 per maund.”

Farmer Hashem Ali, of Khajura in the same upazila, said he had harvested 200 maunds of paddy this year. “I am very happy as this year’s market price for paddy is much higher than last year. Farmers will survive if prices are like this every year.”

Farmer Ataur Rahman, of Hashimpur in Sadar upazila, said that he had cultivated paddy on a 12-bigha land. “This year, I got Tk1,150 per maund for my Basmati rice, whereas in the last 3-4 years I couldn’t get anything near this price. I am satisfied with this year’s price. I think it’s fair.”

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