The government will procure an additional 2 lakh tone rice and paddy from directly farmers to ensure fair price of farmer amid coronavirus pandemic, Finance Ministry sources said.

Finance division on Monday disbursed Tk 720 crore to buy paddy and rice from the farmers instead of middleman and miller’s.

Director General of food Directorate General Sarwar Mahammad told Business Mirror that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked Food Ministry to procure 2 lakh tones of paddy directly from farmers so that they will not deprived off.

“The honourable PM forecasting  a food shortage in near future have asked the ministry as we are implementing it as usual ,” the DG said

Meanwhile, the government decided  to procure 10 lakh tonnes of paddy during the current Boro season. The rice procurement programs started from April 26 but according to food ministry only 57 tone paddy procured during last 16 days.

Farmers will produce paddy next year if they get fair price this year so food directorate wants to buy paddy from farmers instead of rice from the millers official also said .

Regarding slow procurement process he said lack of availability of trucks and people the procurement program is being slowed during lockdown .

According to the procurement plan Some one million tonnes of boiled rice will be procured at Tk 36 per kg, 150,000 tonnes of non-boiled (atap) rice at Tk 35 per kg and 600,000 tonnes of paddy at Tk 26 per kg.

A study that government itself commissioned last year provided the solution and submitted the policy option to the line ministries — Ministry of Food and Ministry of Agriculture — last week, a timely intervention, considering the fact that the government’s food department has just gone to market to buy paddy and rice in the current Boro season.

It advises the government: buy paddy from farmers, not rice from the millers.

If last year’s procurement experience is something to go by, the government would do well to immediately act upon this study”s advice.

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