According to the local reports, it has been revealed that the rice farmers in most parts of the country have started harvesting Boro (January – May) paddy and are expecting better prices this year. As per the government’s recent announcement to purchase 700,000 tons of paddy directly from farmers at Tk 23 per kilogram (around $300 per ton), it is narrated to have raised hopes among the farmers. In addition, the government has also announced to purchase another 600,000 tons of rice from millers at Tk 32 per kilogram (around $417 per ton). In this regard, generally it has been observed that the government procures 900,000 tons to one million tons of milled rice and around 100,000 tons of paddy from farmers. However, in this year, the government has decided to procure more paddy from farmers to support prices accordingly.
Moreover, it has been stated that in this year, Boro acreage has declined to around 4.685 million hectares from last year’s 4.8 million hectares due to low prices in last year. Further, flash floods in the northern Bangladesh have also reportedly damaged around 22,000 hectares of Boro rice crop, but Agriculture officials noted that the damage would not affect the total output significantly. There are indications that despite low acreage and flash floods, Agriculture officials are expecting the Boro rice output to remain stable at 19 million tons. Meanwhile, the farmers have expressed joy over the government’s decision to buy more paddy from farmers directly. Thus, it has been told that this would encourage them to grow more rice and it has also been noted that prices have started to pick up. According to one farmer, it was informed that the price increased to 730 Tk per forty kilograms (around $238 per ton) of paddy from around 700 Tk (around $228 per ton) last week.
Furthermore, in this matter, the government is also reportedly planning to impose a 10% supplementary duty on top of the 20% tariff on rice imports to support market prices during Boro harvest. Meanwhile, the officials of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) observed that 2015-16 (July – June) Aman (July – December) paddy rice output reached around 13.5 million tons, which is up from last year’s 13.2 million tons due to increased plantation of high-yielding varieties. In addition, it is also being expected to achieve an output of 2.28 million tons from Aus (February – August) crop too.