Boro Rice procurement far from the target
Tahjeeb Hossain Chowdhury: Under the very dire situation of a Pandemic and multiple calamities, the collection and procurement of Boro Rice have been way off the mark. The government has ordered a portion of Boro that is way lower than the initial target projections were thought to be. With the condition of the Covid-19 getting more confusing and worse at the same time, it’s been discouraging to see dwindling numbers of Boro Procurement this year.
The Procurement drive had made some lofty goals in the buildup. The target of Boro Paddy Procurement was 800,000 tons this year. Only 7750 tons were procured by the director-general of food, which is less than one percent of the target in mind. In the case of Parboiled rice from millers, only 6% of the 1000,000 tons target was procured by the food office. The drive began on April 26 and would go up to August 21.
Farmer’s interest in selling to the market as high as the prices increased compared to the last year. The farmers were opting not to sell to public warehouses because of the government policy of not buying paddy above 14% moisture. With the targets of Paddy, Parboiled, and sunburn rice being twice the size of last year’s target, the purchase and procurement speed has been dismal, to say the least. The Directorate General of Food (DGF) has addressed the situation as undesirable and hopes to strengthen the purchase efforts in the remaining days of the drive.
The continuous rainfall, Cyclone Amphan, and the Eid holidays are to blame for the lackluster speed of procurement. The importance of procurement of Boro Paddy has reached apex levels as the pandemic requires more food stocks for the poor people in the coming days. With a 12% increase of food distribution for relief, Open Market Sale, and food-friendly programs for supporting the poor raised the volume to 24.5 tons within the last one year. The DGF itself has a stock limit of 19.5 tons of food.
While the targets are a far cry from the current procurement numbers, the food stock needs to be close to the target level. The country representative of International Food Policy Research Institute, Akhter Ahmed, emphasized this point of stocking up food for the coming days. The drive has been said to be on its way to success. The prices being high in the market coupled with the market being quite optimistic, this was the perfect time for the Farmers to cash in. Because of Government’s high purchase promise Millers stocked the public storages according to their commitments with the DGF.
IFPRI representative Akhter Ahmed has also advised the government to buy the paddy even if the moisture levels are higher than usual. Experts like MA Sattar Mandal have advised to stock up 20 lakh tons of food for the upcoming days. Covid-19 time is a testing duration and the people need proper stocks of food.
The DGF has further ordered officials to accelerate the Boro Rice procurement plans to get close to the target purchase.
(The writer is a marketing graduate, content writer, and data science enthusiast from Dhaka, reach him at [email protected])
Photo Courtesy: World Grain