The prices of the staple continue their upward trajectory over the last couple of days, with no sign to abate.
According to the market insiders, unless more import initiatives are taken, the hike in rice price would be far from being tamed.
As per the on Sunday’s data provided by Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, the retail price of per kg coarse rice was ranging between Tk50 and Tk54 while it was Tk43 to Tk45 just a week ago.
Weak public reserve, tremendous damage to paddy during Boro season, recent monsoon flooding that hit Aman cultivation, plus lackluster attempt to procure rice from international market have worsened the situation all together.
Nirod Boron Saha, president, Naogaon Rice Wholesalers Association, told the Dhaka Tribune, “The price spiral is likely to stop within the next few weeks as a good amount of rice would be available in the market through private initiative.”
He also hinted that the price of the staple food could spike more by the end of the year unless a large volume of rice is imported.
Regarding the upward price spiral, Agro-economist Dr Qazi Shahabuddin said: “Rice price has already increased a lot, but the situation will worsen because of more shortage in near future as we will get less production in Aman season in December due to recent flood.”
Earlier in April, the flash flood in haor basin comprised of seven districts in the country’s north-eastern part damaged around 20,00,000 tons of Boro rice.
Later in last month, this year’s monsoon flooding damaged around 6,00,000 hectares of Aman paddy field, projecting 15,00,000 tons of less rice production.
State of rice import
Amid the ongoing Rohingya influx, Food Minister Qamrul Islam visited Myanmar recently with an aim to make an import of 10,00,000 tons of rice from there, but failed.
As of September 13, the country has imported around 6,75,000 tons of rice.
Meanwhile, the government has signed separate agreements with Vietnam and Thailand to import rice. Of them, Vietnamese rice has started to arrive.
As of today, the government food grain stock stands at 4,61,000 tons. Of them, rice accounts for 3,39,000 tons while wheat 1,22,000 tons.
The government has already launched Open Market Sale (OMS) at Tk15 a kg to exert control over the market.
The government intervention through OMS is being hailed as a good initiative to stem the price spiral.