Govt may procure upto 800,000 MT paddy to ensure fair prices: Minister

Food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder

The government will procure 700,000-800,000 tonnes of paddy instead of the existing target of 400,000 tonnes if needed, to ensure fair prices for farmers in the current Boro season, said food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Sunday.

"The government wants farmers to get good prices for their crops. If farmers get good prices we'll happy. We are working to ensure it," he said, reports UNB.

The food minister said this at a press briefing after he inaugurated the collection of Boro paddy and rice-2023 through a virtual platform from his office room in the Bangladesh secretariat.

"The government has decided to collect 400,000 tonnes of Boro paddy in the current Boro season. But if the farmer does not get the prices of paddy properly, then the government will procure 7-8 lakh tonnes of paddy if necessary. Besides, 12.5 lakh (1.25 million) tonnes of rice will be procured (in this season)," he said.

The minister, however, said there will be no compromise on the quality of rice during the collection drive. The field officials have already been instructed to complete the collection properly, ensuring the quality of the rice, he said.

He said the government is buying paddy at a higher price this time considering the interests of the farmers.

Sadhan Chandra said the paddy should be harvested within the next 15 days so that the crops would not be damaged in any natural calamity.

He said the food officials were directed to blacklist mill owners who did not sign contracts to supply rice to the government in the last season and not send their names incorporating these in the fit list. Those who helped the government by signing contracts are in the good book of the government.

During the current season of Boro collection-2023, a target was set to procure 400,000 tonnes of paddy, 1250,000 tonnes of boiled rice and 100,000 tonnes of wheat. The collection will continue till 31 August, 2023.

The collection price of boro paddy has been fixed at Tk 30 per kg, while that of boiled rice at Tk 44 and wheat at Tk 35 per kg.

In 2022, the prices of paddy, rice and wheat were Tk 27, Tk 40 and Tk 28 respectively, said a press release.