The government has decided import several metric ton of rice this fiscal after a gap of few years aiming to break unholy syndication among rice millers and to curb rising price of the main staple food in the market.
Rice price could not be brought down despite various efforts taken by the government since coronavirus pandemic spreads across the country.
The decision to import rice was taken at a meeting of the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee on October 28 through a Zoom app where senior minister participated where Minister for Food Sadhan Chandra Majumdar presided.
Rice has not been imported by the government since the 2016-17 as country achieved sufficiency in producing rice.
“It has been decided to import rice only if needed,” Food Secretary Moshammat Nazmanara Khanum told Business Mirror.
The ministry wants keep the government buffer-stock at a satisfactory level so that no uneven situation could arise on the aftermath of the pandemic, Food Secretary said.
“There have no reason that the prices of rice remain high in the retail market. There are several strong cartels among rice millers who artificially minimize rice and push prices,” she added.
She added, “We are trying to break the syndicate of rice rackets. Even then, if a syndicate of millers or traders tries to increase the price of rice, we will try to keep the price of rice within the reach of consumers by importing rice from abroad.”
“We want our farmers to get the price,” she said adding we will not import rice privately by reducing tariffs.
The meeting informed about the import situation which revealed that till October 28,2020 a total of 216,000 MT of wheat have been officially imported. However, no rice was imported by the government during this fiscal. At the same time, only 60 MT of rice and 16,91,000 MT of wheat have been imported privately.
The government has a plan and budget allocation to procure 24,55,000 MT of rice from domestic sources and 1,00,000 MT of rice by way of import. Already 5,60,000 MT of rice have been collected during the Boro season.