Sudden spike in rice prices 

Rice in the marketFile photo

Rice prices have started to rise suddenly in retail and wholesale markets across the country.

The traders attributed the hike to the millers raising the price at the beginning of the year, while the mill owners and wholesale traders claimed the low supply pulled up the price.  

It was learnt through visits to different markets in Dhaka and major mokams (wholesale markets) of the country that the price went up by Tk 2 to Tk 6 per kg over the past two weeks. 

While visiting the kitchen markets at Palashi, New Market and Karwan Bazar in Dhaka on Sunday, coarse rice (Shorna and Chinese IRRI) was found to be sold at Tk 54-55 per kg, against Tk 50-52 per kg around a week ago. The price of medium quality rice (Paijam and BR-28) has surged from Tk 55-58 to Tk 60-62 per kg, while finer varieties like Miniket and Nazirshail rose from Tk 62-75 to Tk 68-80 within around a week. Some premium rice varieties are being sold at even higher prices.

The traders said the price started to rise at the beginning of the year, but it rose significantly soon after the election.

The farmers harvested a good yield of Aman paddy this year, but the production cost went up. Still, the high extent of price during such a peak season seems disproportionate with the increased production cost, say the traders.

Jashim Uddin, proprietor of Ismail and Sons at Karwan Bazar, said, “The rice prices have surged abruptly. It cannot be considered as an usual trend of price hike. There are efforts to create a crisis in the rice market by reducing supply.”  

The traders said the price started to rise at the beginning of the year, but it rose significantly soon after the election.

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HR Khan Pathan, general secretary of Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners Association, said they are buying paddy at record-high prices, despite a good yield of Aman crops. It is unprecedented that the paddy price rose by Tk 80 to 100 per sack at the beginning of the year.  

He underscored the need for government intervention to monitor the market comprehensively, at all levels of the supply chain. 

However, food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder assured that there was a good production of paddy and the food stocks in the country are adequate. After assuming the ministerial position for the second term, he held meetings with the officials on Sunday and told them that the rice prices are rising on a regular basis due to the millers’ competition in paddy purchase.  

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The minister also said the authorities would gear up drives against illegal hoarding of paddy and rice and take initiative to prevent the unholy competition. An anti-hoarding law has already been passed and it will be implemented following formulation of necessary regulations.