The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) has said there was no 'syndicate' active behind the recent hike in rice prices in the country.
Its latest findings have held natural disaster and normal economic factors responsible for the situation.
BIDS presented its study styled 'Rice Market in Bangladesh: Role of Key Intermediaries' at a technical session of the two-day research almanac in the capital.
The study also revealed that top 50 automatic rice millers dominate an estimated 20 per cent of the country's total market share of the staple. The millers should be strictly monitored on a regular basis by the government, it said.
BIDS former research director Prof Dr M Asaduzzaman chaired the session where Dhaka University economics professor Dr Firdousi Naher and Dr Shubhashish Barua of development studies department, among others, spoke.
BIDS senior research fellow Dr Nazneen Ahmed presented the paper which has been prepared for Bangladesh Competition Commission.
More than 88 traders were made respondents of the study done in four largest paddy-growing Bogura, Mymensingh, Naogaon and Dinajpur districts.
It also covered kitchen markets like Badmatali-Babubazar, Karwanbazar, Mohammadpur Krishi Market and Kachukhetbazar in Dhaka city.
According to the study, natural disaster and unexpected price shocks often create upheavals to destabilise the market for a short period of time.
BIDS found price inconsistency due mainly to seasonality as prices of the produce were seen increasing in slack season before the harvest.
Ms Nazneen said natural disasters in 2006 and 2017 caused a spike in prices when production dropped.
The BIDS survey found no syndicate behind the fixing of higher rice prices, she said.
"But we found top 50 auto rice millers dominating 20 per cent of rice share and they can stock rice and paddy for a certain period following existing law."
According to Ms Nazneen, millers can store rice for 15 days and two times than their production capacity.
They can stock paddy five times than their milling capacity for 30 days, she mentioned.
The BIDS researcher said public storage of rice put an impact on the market.
Rice has shot up in price by 3.0 to 7.0 per cent in the past one month this Aman harvesting season, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
The BIDS study said the import share is only 1.0-2.0 per cent of the rice supply in the country and it fluctuates.
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