The government will procure 6 lakh tonnes of paddy directly from farmers in the current Aman season, said Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak on Thursday.
He said underprivileged farmers will get priority in paddy procurement and a lottery will be held in this regard, he said while addressing the inaugural session of 7th Bapa Food Pro International Expo 2019 at International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) as the chief guest.
He said paddy prices increased by Tk 100-Tk 200 per maund after government's announcement of paddy procurement which is positive news for farmers. But the ministry is always in dilemma over the hike and fall of prices, he added.
"We are criticized when prices fall and face pressure when prices go up, the minister said.
Despite having huge rice in stock, media reports are coming up over rice price spirals and the price has gone up by Tk 4-5 per kg in the last one week, he said.
"Once there was food deficiency in Bangladesh. Though Bangladesh is a disaster-prone country, it has achieved much success in food production. The government has taken a number of initiatives to boost food production," he said.
As Bangladesh is a densely-populated country, arable lands are shrinking fast which is a great challenge to the nation in addition to natural calamity," Razzak said.
The minister also thanked Bangladesh Agro-Processors' Association (BAPA) as the export of agricultural goods has exceeded USD 400 mn from Bangladesh.
BAPA president AFM Fakhrul Islam, Munshi Agriculture secretary Md Nasiruzzaman, acting High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Bishwadip Dey, country representative of FAO Robert Douglas Simpson, among others, spoke at the event.
BAPA organised the three-day show on Food Processing sector. Two concurrent expositions -- 9th Agro Bangladesh Expo 2019 and 6th Rice & Graintech Expo Bangladesh -- are also being held there.