Govt backtracks on importing rice
Al Amin :
The government is now on back track from the decision of importing rice from foreign countries as it sees the country has food surplus.
Following the adverse impact of the Covid-19 and ongoing flood situation, the Food Ministry had decided to import rice and send a proposal to the PM Office for its approval to keep the rice market stable and prevent price manipulation.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the ministry's proposal to import required quantity of rice.
But now the ministry does not see necessity of importing rice randomly as there is no concern of shortage of rice till November this year.
The ministry sources said the government will not go for importing rice randomly right now as there is a substantial rice stocks in the country.
According to data of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), there will be a surplus of 5.55 million tonnes of rice, even after meeting the country's demand till next November this year.
The BRRI data said the production of Boro rice has exceeded 2 crore 3 lack 30 thousand tonnes in the country which was 1 crore 95 lakh 60 thousand tonnes in the last year.
On the other hand, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said the Boro rice production has been crossed 2 crore 2 lakh 50 thousand tones.
Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque on Sunday said that the government is likely to import rice at a limited scale as there is no concern over food shortage in the country at the moment.
"We will take decision after considering the overall situation of the production of the Aush and Aman paddy," he added.
He further said, "We are taking preparation for importing rice as the ongoing flood has already damaged Aush paddy in many areas of the country. Aman paddy is also at danger situation."
"If the flood situation is being prolonged and the damage of flood cannot be remedied, then, we will go for importing rice," the minister said.
On the other hand, Food Minister Shadhan Chandra Majumder said, "A vested quarter have increased rice price to make an artificial crisis in the country. We have to think about the interest of both the farmers and consumers."
"But considering the food security and natural disasters, we will take decision," the food minister said.