Govt Mulls OMS Again
Sunday, 27 December 2009

Food minister Abdur Razzak said that Open Market Sales (OMS) of rice might be resumed to ensure price stability.

The minister, speaking at a seminar Saturday on food price inflation, said the government has undertaken to distribute around 26 lakh metric tonnes of food grains under the social security net programmes, "even though foreign aid has been reduced."

"If necessary open market sale (OMS) will also be resumed," he added.

Razzak also said the government was taking initiatives to increase stocks to ensure greater food security.

He said there was currently 12 lakh metric tonnes of rice stocked in storehouses.

"But the total capacity of the government godowns is only 15 lakh metric tonne, which is not sufficient for the 15 crore people of the country."

The government is planning to build storehouses for another 7.5 lakh metric tonnes food, said the minister.

CS Karim, former adviser to the interim government, pointed to food prices as a bar to food security, rather than scarcity.

He said a vast amount of crops were destroyed in the 2007 and 2008 floods. "Even then, there was no scarcity, but the poor could not afford to buy food at high prices."

Karim praised the government's efforts at subsidising food production costs. He said a boost in production would bring down food prices and ensure better food security.

The seminar, on 'Price Hike of Food Products: Affect and Effect', was arranged jointly by the Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) and Concern Worldwide at the LGED auditorium in Agargaon.

PPRC executive chairman, and former adviser, Hossain Zillur Rahman, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council executive chairman Wases Kabir, Centre for Policy Dialogue additional director Uttam Deb were present among the others at the seminar.


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