Prices of aromatic rice shoot up sharply

Yasir Wardad
Prices of aromatic rice shot up sharply in last one month as businesses are allegedly taking advantage of its high demand during the month of holy Ramadan, insiders said.
The prices recorded 14 to 40 per cent hike in the market in a month ahead of the fasting month.
Aromatic rice is mainly used by Bangladeshis for making rich foods like polau and biriani, sweetmeats like kheer, payesh, especially on festive occasions.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), aromatic rice comprises 1.5 million tonnes of total rice output of 34.7 million tonnes.
Fragrant rice varieties like Kalijira and Chinigura (loose) were sold at Tk 105 to Tk 115 per kg which was Tk 75 to Tk 90 a month back recording a 7.8 to 40 per cent increase.
Kataribhog (loose) was selling at Tk 74 to Tk 82 per kg in the markets which was Tk 65 to Tk 72 per kg-nearly a 14 per cent surge.
Local basmati (known as Banglamoti) was trading at Tk 85-Tk 90 from Tk 70-Tk 75 per kg.   
Branded Chinigura and Kalijira of agro processing companies like Pran, Square and Brac were trading at Tk 115-Tk 120 for one kg packet, according to kitchen markets and groceries. These marked Tk 10 hike in a month.  
Md Golam Kibria, a grocer at Mirpur Section 2 kitchen market in the capital, told the FE on Sunday that prices have gradually been increasing.
The prices of Chinigura of better quality traded at Tk 4,900-Tk 4,910 per 50 kg sack at Kochukhet wholesale which was Tk 3,900-Tk 3,950 a month back.
There is possibility of further hike ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr, he said.
Md Asadulla, joint secretary of Badamtoli and Babaubazar Rice Wholesale Owners Association said prices witnessed a hike in Dinajpur, Rangpur, Rajshahi and Jessore notably.
He said millers have squeezed supply on excuse of low supply.
"Prices have surged by Tk 8-Tk 10 per kg in the milling and trading hubs," he said.
He also pointed out that retailers, especially grocers, are charging much higher prices compared to those of wholesale markets.
He said price of better quality Chinigura was Tk 96.5- Tk 98.5 per kg at Babubazar which is selling at Tk 115 per kg in retail.   
Secretary of Bangladesh Auto Major Husking Mills Owners Association K M Layek Ali said most of the leading food processing companies now hold major share of the aromatic rice.
He said millers mainly deal with rice that is eaten daily.
The leading brands decide what the market trend will be, he said.
He said the government has been permitting export of aromatic rice which also could have left an  impact.
Bangladesh Rice Exporters Association vice-president Ishaqul Hossain Sweet said the government permitted export on a limited scale.
He said only 4,000 tonnes were exported in last one year of which half by their association members and the rest by some agro-processing  companies, he said.
He said this little volume of export could have no impact on the 1.5 million tonne local market.
When asked, Ilius Mridha, Director of Pran, a leading brand, said production of aromatic rice was much lower in Aman season this fiscal year which is mainly responsible for high prices.  
The prices of normal paddy varieties were much lesser but the aromatic variety was traded at higher rates during the harvesting season at Tk 1,000-Tk 1,200 per maund, he said.
However, Pran has contact farmers in Natore, Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Habiganj who always got higher returns for helping the company maintain quality.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said the government's repeated warnings have failed to create any impact on the commodity market, as the ongoing soaring trend in essentials' prices continues unabated.
He said retail price of best quality Chinigura should not be more than Tk 60 per kg following low price of the paddy for last two years.   
He said there is a need for immediate and effective moves from the agencies concerned to strictly monitor the market and keep the essentials' prices within people's purchasing capacity.
Aromatic rice grows in Aman and Aus seasons in Bangladesh.
Local demand for such varieties is 1.0 million tonnes and it is increasing by 10 per cent year-on-year basis, said K M Layek Ali.    [Read More]

Source: The Financial Express


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