The harvest of Aus paddy has begun across the country, raising hope among the farmers of getting another bumper output this year.
Paddy price is much higher this year than that of last year due to decrease in rice import, said farmers and traders.
Among three seasons of rice - Aus, Aman and Boro, Aus contributes 7.5 per cent of the country's total rice supply, latest data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) showed.
Aus production reached 2.7 million tonnes in last financial year (FY), 2017-18, which was a 15-year high, BBS said.
The production in this year is also showing a good trend, as more than 1.15 million hectares of land have come under Aus farming. The acreage is 8.0 per cent higher than that of FY 18.
About 20 per cent of Aus harvest has been completed until August 30, according to the monitoring unit under the Field Services Wing of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
Farmers in Sylhet, Barishal, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Rangpur regions have been busy with harvesting and marketing their paddy.
DAE data shows farmers in Barishal region have cultivated Aus at the highest 0.35 million hectares of land, followed by those of Rajshahi 0.22 million hectares, Chittagong 0.2 million hectares, and Sylhet 0.125 million hectares.
Director General of DAE Mohammad Mohsin told the FE that they have targeted to get 2.75 million tonnes of rice in Aus season this year, of which 0.5 million will be of indigenous varieties. Paddy prices are much better now than that of last year.
Rabiul Islam (Manik), a farmer-cum-trader at Sujanagar in Pabna, told the FE that he has grown high-yielding variety Brridhan-27 at 12 bighas of land this year.
"We are getting an output of 8.5 to 9.0 maunds (1 maund = 40 kg) from per bigha of land, which is little higher than that of last year."
He said paddy is selling at Tk 850-860 a maund now, which was just Tk 600-650 last year.
Secretary of Bangladesh Auto Major Husking Mill Owners Association (BAMHMOA) K M Layek Ali, said paddy of coarse varieties were selling at Tk 850-900 per maund across the country, while that of finer quality Jeerashail at Tk 1,000-1,050 per maund.
Mr Ali said the farmers are getting good prices for their produce thanks to imposition of higher duty on rice import.
The government re-imposed 28 per cent duty on rice import from June last.
Overall rice production increased by 7.1 per cent to 36.2 million tonnes in last FY from 33.79 million tonnes in FY 17, according to BBS.
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) estimates the national demand for rice at 33 million tonnes.
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