The government has almost achieved its rice procurement target in the Boro season thanks to lucrative price offer that lured millers and farmers.
Meanwhile, local smooth supply and higher imports helped public rice stock to reach a seven-year high of 1.34 million tonnes this month, officials said.
The Directorate General of Food (DGoF) has been able to procure 1.15 million tonnes of rice including 0.018 million tonnes of paddy from domestic sources, mostly from 8,500 millers until August this year.
The DGoF set a target to purchase a total of 1.1 million tonnes of rice including 0.9 million tonnes of boiled rice, 0.1 million non-boiled (aatop) and 0.1 million tonnes of paddy in Boro harvesting season from May to September.
It offered Tk 38 for per kg boiled rice, Tk 37 for aatop and Tk 26 for paddy which was Tk 34 and Tk 24 a kg respectively last year.
Saiful Kabir Khan, deputy director (procurement) at the DGoF, told the FE that they later revised upward the procurement target as 1.3 million tonnes following a bumper Boro production.
"And now we are eying to buy another 0.4 million tonnes of rice," he said.
Boro production hit an all-time high of 19.5 million tonnes this year.
Mr Khan said: "We are expecting that the extended target could also be achieved within our deadline of September."
Rice procurement was also as good as 0.6 million tonnes in Aman season, he added.
He said public warehouses have a stock of 1.34 million tonnes of rice now which was only 0.2 million tonnes in the corresponding period last year and 0.614 million tonnes in 2016.
The government also imported more than 0.95 million tonnes of the staple in 2018, he mentioned.
According to the DGoF, rice stock was over 1.4 million tonnes in September 2011.
However, the directorate has been operating its open market sale (OMS) of rice and flour in every district headquarters.
Rice is selling at Tk 30 a kg and flour at Tk 18 a kg under the OMS truck sale programme.
Additional director (supply, distribution and marketing) MA Sayeed said the directorate has so far distributed 0.3 million tonnes of rice as of September 06 in the current fiscal year which was only 0.043 million tonnes in the corresponding period of last fiscal.
However, prices of course rice declined to some extent in the city as per kg rice was sold at Tk 45-Tk 48 in retail markets -- 2.5 per cent lower than that of last year.
But prices of medium and fine varieties are still 9.0 to 17.7 per cent higher than that of last year, according to the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
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