See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Economics

Rice prices hit 3-year low in Bangladesh

Good harvest, healthy stocks main reasons for lower prices.


Written by

Updated: May 22, 2019

Rice prices have fallen to a nearly three-year low impacted by downturn in paddy prices at the farmers’ level in the wake of good harvest as well as higher private and public stocks of the grain.

The average retail price of coarse rice, consumed mainly by the low-income group, was Tk 33 per kg in city markets yesterday, down 24 percent from a year ago, according to the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM).

It is the lowest since August 2016 when the average retail price of the same quality grain was Tk 33.58 per kilogram, show data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The FAO data showed that the prices gradually declined after they soared to Tk 47.78 in September 2017. Just more than a year later in November 2018, the prices fell below the Tk 40 mark.

Since then, the market prices have gradually been declining because of good crop harvest, a situation that hurts farmers but benefits consumers.

Bangladesh bagged 3.62 crore tonnes of rice in fiscal 2017-18 and the total production is expected to hit a new high during the current fiscal year, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), rice millers and traders.

In addition, fresh imports and carryover stocks have added to the overall domestic supply, said rice millers and traders.

“We’ve a huge stock of rice,” said Chitta Majumder, managing director of Majumder Group of Industries, which owns several rice mills.

He said prices of rice and paddy are interrelated and when the prices of paddy fall, rice prices follow suit.

Depending on quality, prices of paddy dropped as much as 23 percent during the current Boro harvesting season from the same period a year ago, according to DAM data.

Coarse paddy producers were hit the hardest followed by fine and medium grain producers as current prices are much below the government-estimated production cost of paddy at Tk 993 per maund (37.20 kilogram).

As of May 15, coarse paddy dipped to Tk 540 each maund from Tk 702 for the same quantity a year ago.

Chitta said the response for paddy from millers remains lukewarm, as they could not clear their previously purchased grains for a dearth of buyers.

“There was no large buyer in the paddy market,” he said, adding, “There is no way but to export.”

Nirod Boron Saha, president of the Naogaon Dhan O Chal Arathdar Babshayee Samity, an association of rice wholesalers and commission agents, said the prices were unlikely to increase soon unless millers could sell their rice from the stocks.

“Our hands are tied. The government is not willing to receive aman from us nor does the market have demand for the rice. How would we get money to buy paddy if we cannot sell [the rice]?” he asked.

Saha said there was no sign yet of the paddy market to rebound to ease the lives of tens of thousands of farmers.

“Farmers are in real trouble. They have to pay very high wages to hired workers to harvest paddy during this peak season, but they sell their produces at nearly half the production cost. It’s a terrible situation,” he said.

He also said the demand for rice remains low because of good harvest of Boro, the biggest crop, almost throughout the country.

He also said export could be a solution. But it may take time to find market. Government-to-Government contracts can be explored for quick exports, he added.

Md Arifur Rahman Apu, director general of Directorate General of Food, said the commerce ministry would ultimately decide on export.

He said there has been a delay in purchasing paddy from growers because of a delay in preparing a list of the farmers.

Apu claimed that the food directorate has little to influence the paddy market. “We will buy only 12 lakh tonnes of rice and that will be added to our stock of nearly 13 lakh tonnes of cereal. We have a capacity of storing 21 lakh tonnes [of grains],” he said.

“We have instructed all our field offices to start buying paddy and rice,” he said.

DAE Director of Field Services Wing Md Abdul Muyeed said the Boro rice output was likely to be 2 lakh tonnes higher to 1.97 crore tonnes this year from the previous year owing to favourable weather and DAE support.

The DAE had earlier estimated production of Aus and Aman rice crops at 29 lakh and 1.53 crore tonnes for this fiscal. Those are higher than that of the previous fiscal year.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Daily Star
About the Author: The Daily Star is a leading English-language daily newspaper in Bangladesh.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs, Economics

G20 draft calls for digital economy rules within the year

Digital laws have been proposed before in the past but is gaining traction ahead of the G20s. The leaders’ declaration for this week’s Group of 20 summit will call for creating a framework for drawing up international rules on the digital economy to be called the “Osaka track,” according to a draft obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun. It will also call for achieving results within the year. The G20 leaders are scheduled to gather in Osaka on Friday and Saturday. In the draft, the section on the digital economy is part of a separate “Osaka statement.” The Osaka statement draft welcomes progress in discussions among about 80 interested World Trade Organization member states on an e-commerce accord. The draft expresses the G20’s support for rule creation and other developments in this area through the Osaka track. It states that the leaders vow to collaborate so people all over the world w


By The Japan News
June 27, 2019

Current affairs, Economics

Korea, Saudi seek closer cooperation

The two sign MOUs, deals worth over $8 billion. President Moon Jae-in and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia met in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas. The crown prince arrived in Seoul earlier in the day and was met by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon before moving on to Cheong Wa Dae for a welcoming ceremony followed by a meeting with Moon and his top aides. At the meeting, Moon stressed the importance of Korea-Saudi relations, highlighting economic projects between the two countries and Seoul’s involvement in Saudi’s Vision 2030 program. The Vision 2030 program is aimed at reducing the country’s economic dependence on oil and developing its public service sectors. “Korea is a strategic partner in Vision 2030, and the two countries are expanding the horizon of cooperation beyond construction and energy to ICT, smart infr


By The Korea Herald
June 27, 2019

Current affairs, Economics

Vietnam, EU to sign free trade agreement

The agreement will be signed in Hanoi on June 30. The European Council announced on Tuesday that it has approved the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and assigned the EU to sign the deals with Vietnam on June 30 in Hanoi The EVFTA and EVIPA are the most ambitious agreements concluded between the EU and a developing country. Once the EVFTA takes effect, over 99 per cent of tariff on goods from both sides will be lifted. Vietnam will remove 65 per cent of import tariff on goods from the EU. Remaining tariffs will be removed in the next decade. Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the trade agreement ensures that trade, investment and sustainable development go hand in hand, by setting the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection. Meanwhile, the EVITA will h


By Viet Nam News
June 26, 2019

Current affairs, Economics

US, China must compromise to reach deal: Chinese official

Both sides must come together in good faith for any progress to be made. Both China and the United States must be willing to compromise if they are to reach a deal when presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump meet at the G-20 Summit this week, a Chinese trade official has said. Vice-Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen said at a news briefing yesterday that trade teams from both sides are in talks. He did not elaborate, but stressed that China negotiates on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. “An agreement reached has to be beneficial for both sides, and meeting each other halfway means both sides must be willing to compromise – not just one side giving way,” said Mr Wang, who is part of China’s negotiating team.


By The Straits Times
June 26, 2019

Current affairs, Economics

The transformation of Gokul Baskota

How Nepal’s communications minister went from being a fierce reporter to a hardline politician against free press. For Gokul Baskota, the last twelve months have been particularly busy. Since taking the helm of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which had been without a leader for several months before his appointment last June, Baskota has eagerly placed himself at the centre of a nonstop media storm, defending every controversial bill the government has tabled or passed—from the Medical Education Bill to the 


By The Kathmandu Post
June 25, 2019

Current affairs, Economics

Pakistan to get $3bn in deposits, direct investments from Qatar

Pakistan has recently received loans from the World Bank and investments from the Saudis. Qatar is making $3 billion dollars worth of new investments in Pakistan, in the form of deposits and direct investments, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday. The economic partnership between Qatar and Pakistan will reach $9 billion, Qatar News Agency quoted foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as saying. “The Qatari-Pakistani economic partnership will amount to $9 billion. Qatar affirms


By Dawn
June 25, 2019