Photo : Messenger
Despite the fresh arrival of Aman paddy into the market, the cost of rice has once again surged. Within a week, the market price of rice has increased by Tk 4-5 per kilogram. Rice sellers attribute this sudden price hike to mill owners. Conversely, mill owners argue that while the price of new rice has risen at Millgate, the cost of old rice has remained unchanged.
Traders and millers explain that the price of rice is on the rise due to a shortage of paddy. Many mills have closed due to this shortage. However, they anticipate that the price of rice will decrease in the next 15 days if thicker varieties become available in the market.
Meanwhile, in Kushtia, one of the main sources of rice in the country, the price of all types of rice has increased by Tk 2-5 per kg within a week. Buyers expressed frustration at the seemingly arbitrary increase in rice prices. Lower- and middle-class individuals are struggling to manage the increased expenses in their families. Consumers are calling for increased market vigilance to prevent manipulation by unscrupulous traders.
Additionally, the price of atta has increased by Tk 10 per kg, and flour by Tk 5 per kg in the market in the last week. This increase applies to both loose and packaged atta and flour. According to data from the government agency Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of open atta has increased by 14 percent per kg, while the price of flour has increased by 8-9 percent per kg.
On Saturday, it was observed that the price of rice has increased by Tk 5-6 per kg in a week. The price of coarse and medium-quality rice has increased the most at the retail level. However, the price of narrow rice has increased relatively less. Traders report that the price of coarse (Swarna and Iri) and medium (BR 28) quality rice has increased by Tk 4-5 per kg in the retail market, and the price of thin (Miniket and Nazirshail) rice has increased by Tk 5-6 per kg in the retail market.
HR Khan Pathan, the General Secretary of Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners Association, told The Daily Messenger that although mill owners did not increase the price of rice, it has risen in the retail market. Therefore, he suggests that the rice market needs to be monitored. However, he adds that the current rice production is good, and new rice will soon be available in the market, stabilising prices.
Currently, the price of coarse rice in the market is Tk 52-54 per kg, and medium-quality rice is selling at Tk 59-60. Among narrow rice, miniket rice is being sold at Tk 65-72 per kg, while several varieties of Nazirshail rice are being sold at Tk 75-95. However, due to the high prices, people with low and limited income generally buy less of this rice.
Although the price of rice has increased in different markets of Dhaka, the government organization Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) market price list indicates a decrease of 2 percent in the last one month for coarse and fine rice and a 3 percent decrease in the price of medium rice.
Meanwhile, in Kushtia, the prices of all types of rice at the mill level have increased step by step for the past one month without any apparent reason. This has forced retail and wholesale rice sellers to offer their products at higher prices. The increase in rice prices is primarily attributed to manipulation by millers, according to retailers. They note that due to the increase in prices in the wholesale market, prices in the retail market have also increased.
A visit to several markets in Kushtia revealed that basmati rice is now being sold at Tk 72-73 per kg, compared to Tk 69-70 a month ago. Mini Haskin is selling at Tk 62-63 per kg, up from Tk 57-58 a month ago, and Kajal Lata rice is being sold at Tk 58 per kg, which was Tk 54 a month ago.
Manjurul Haque Ripon, owner of retail and wholesale rice seller Ma Traders, and Tawhidul Islam, owner of Abdul Haque Store, said that the price of all types of rice in the retail and wholesale markets has increased by Tk 2-5 per kg. They believe that mill owners have increased the price of rice, and the introduction of new rice in the future may stabilize prices.
Simultaneously, the price of atta and flour has increased several times in the last one month. A packet of two kg atta is now being sold at Tk 120-130 in the market, up from Tk 100-110 a month ago. As a result, the price of packaged atta has increased by Tk 10 per kg in the last one week.
Abdul Jalil, the owner of Jalil Store in Newmarket, mentioned that the price of atta has been increasing for a month. The prices were stable for a few months before that, and now companies are increasing prices gradually.
Alongside packaged atta, the price of loose atta has also increased. Sellers report that a month ago, the price of a 50 kg sack of atta was Tk 1,950-2,000 in the wholesale market. Now each sack of atta is being sold at Tk 2,200-2,250, resulting in an increase in the price of open atta by Tk 5-7 per kg.
Furthermore, the price of packaged flour has increased by Tk 5 per kg in the last one week. A two-kg packet of flour is now selling at Tk 130-140, up from Tk 120-130 a week ago. A 50 kg sack of open flour was available at Tk 3,450 a month ago, and now it has increased to Tk 3,600.
The market price list of the government organization TCB also indicates that the price of atta and flour has increased in the last one month. According to TCB, prices of loose and packaged atta have increased by 3 and 14 percent, respectively. On the other hand, the rate of increase in the price of open and packaged flour is 9 and 8 percent, respectively.
(Kushtia correspondent Raju Ahmed and Dinajpur correspondent Kurban Ali assisted in the preparation of the report)