|Prices of Rice hit record high|
|Tuesday, 01 January 2008|
The price of per kilogram coarse rice hit the all-time high Tk 30 yesterday as prices of rice shot up by Tk 2 per kg in the capital and elsewhere in the country in the last 48 hours.
Such price hikes were the result of India's decision to increase the minimum rate of rice exported to Bangladesh from $425 to $500 per tonne.
The import of rice through Benapole land port began yesterday at an increased rate of $505 per tonne, reports our Benapole correspondent.
Traders are apprehending further price hike, as the BDR shops in the capital are facing a huge customers' rush in the last couple of days.
A team of The Daily Star yesterday found that the prices of coarse rice like Chapal, Pari, Guti, IRRI, and Indian Swarna rose to Tk 30 to Tk 31 a kg at different city markets.
The prices of these rice varieties were Tk 28-29 two days ago and Tk 25-26 only six days earlier.
The price of Kataribhog of Dinajpur, the best quality in the market, was Tk 60 a kg yesterday, which was Tk 54 six days ago.
Besides, prices of Miniket, Paijam, Lata, Zingashail, and Najirshail and other varieties rose by Tk 2 a kg in the retail markets.
Abul Aziz Khan, worker of a computer firm in Karwan Bazar, purchased a sack of Najirshail (85 kg) at Tk 2,600 in the beginning of November. He was shocked to hear the price as he returned to the market to buy another sack yesterday.
The shopkeepers asked at least Tk 3,300 per sack this time, he said. "I have no alternative to skipping a meal for my six-member family," he sighed.
Speaking anonymously, a trader from Karwan Bazar said he sent his manager to Naogaon yesterday to buy rice. "My manager told me a maund of Aman paddy was selling at Tk 800."
One maund of paddy contains maximum 27 kg rice and if this price remains, it will cost Tk 30 a kg of rice in Naogaon, he added.
"I learned from newspaper reports that the price of Indian rice rose to $500 from $425 a tonne. It seems that the price of one kg coarse rice will reach Tk 35 within a few days."
Meanwhile in Dhaka, the BDR shops are experiencing a huge rush of customers in the last couple of days. Different varieties of coarse rice were being sold at Tk 20 a kg at the 40 BDR shops yesterday. Each shopper can buy maximum three kilogram of rice.
Standing in the long queue, the shoppers, mostly from low-income group, said they had to spend a lot of time buying rice since they [BDR shops] give one person only three kg.
Our Benapole correspondent adds: Indian traders failed to get approval from the Indian customs authorities yesterday to export several thousand tonnes of rice for which letters of credit (L/C) were opened earlier at the rate of $425 per tonne.
Gate passes were issued for export of a several thousand tonnes of rice in 22-23 consignments yesterday morning, but the customs authorities remained reluctant to export those at less than $500 per tonne.
M/s Zaved Traders, a rice importer in Khulna, yesterday imported 200 tonnes of rice at $505 per tonne through Benapole after opening L/C with the Southeast Bank's Khulna branch.
Importer M/s Kazi Enterprise of Jessore said the latest price hike is an indirect strategy of the Indian government to stop rice export to Bangladesh.
Indian exporter Nirmal Shikari said traders could easily export rice at $350 to $355 per tonne from the major wholesale market of Bardhaman in West Bengal. But it is not possible now due to the decision of the Indian government, he added.
In a notification on Thursday, the commerce ministry of the Indian central government increased the prices of exported rice with effect from Sunday.
Source: The Daily Star
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