Prices of different rice varieties remain static at the retail level in the city even after an increase of Tk 4.0-Tk 6.0 per kilogramme a week ago, said traders and millers.
The off-seasonal supply shortage has pushed up the price, they said.
They said the decrease in the supply of Boro paddy and the government's announcement of procuring large amount of Aman paddy and rice are the reasons behind the sudden price hike.
However, they said price may come down after the arrival of Aman paddy as harvesting has started since early this month and will peak over the next two weeks.
Talking to the FE, Mohammad Asadullah, joint secretary of the Badamtoli-Babubazar Rice Wholesalers Association said, "The price of rice has increased by Tk 50 to Tk 100 (per 50 kg sack) at the wholesale level during the last two weeks and the price hasn't increased in the last two-three days."
He noted that the price of fine varieties has increased 'slightly' while coarse grain price remained the same as before.
The trader also said with the onset of Aman harvest season, there is no likelihood of hike in rice price in the coming days.
Shamsul Haque, proprietor of Shamsul Auto Rice Mill in Nilphamari Sadar Upazila, said, "The price of Boro paddy has increased as its stock declined."
"Aman harvesting has started during the first week of current month and has yet to reach the mills," he added.
He said the price of Brridhan-28 at the mill gate sold at Tk 1,750 per 50 kg sack on the day, which was Tk 1,700 two weeks ago. Coarse variety Swarna was selling at Tk 1,350 to Tk 1,400
Fine variety Miniket was selling at Tk 2,150 to Tk 2,250, up by Tk 200 to Tk 250 during the last 10 to 15 days.
Meanwhile, at the retail level, medium quality Brridhan 28 and 29 was selling at Tk 45-48 a kg, fine Miniket at Tk 53-65 a kg, Najirshail at Tk 57-72 a kg and Swarna at Tk 40-45 a kg over the last week.
Owner of Bismillah Store in the city's Shankar area, Md Jewel said the price of per 50 kg sack increased by Tk 200 to Tk 250 a week ago.
If that is put into perspective, the price of per kg fine rice rose by Tk 4.0 to Tk 6.0, he said.
President of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh, or CAB, Goalm Rahman said the sudden price hike in the staple food has imposed extra pressure on commoners as vegetables and other key essentials have become pricier than usual.
He stressed the need for proper monitoring of the market to ensure fair prices of paddy at the farmers' level and prevent price manipulation at the mill and wholesale levels.
Assistant director of the Department of Agricultural Marketing Touhid Md Rashed Khan said the country has now a huge stock of rice, as the production was an all-time high of 37.5 million tonnes during the last financial year.
A bumper harvest of Aman is expected and production is likely to reach 14.3 million tonnes this season, he added.
Paddy prices are now as low as Tk 12.5 to Tk 14 a kg across the country against the production cost of Tk 22-24 a kg.
The current hike in the rice market may help the farmers get fair prices for their Aman paddy, he added.
The government announced that it would procure 1.0 million tonnes of rice and paddy from domestic sources -- 0.6 million tonnes of paddy and 0.4 million tonnes of rice from farmers as well as millers.
In accordance with the decision, the Directorate General of Food will buy paddy at Tk 26 a kg (Tk 1,040 a maund), parboiled rice at Tk 36 a kg and white rice (Aatop) at Tk 35 a kg.
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