The government has set the logical price of some agricultural products at production, wholesale and retail levels so that the highest rate of profit can be ensured for farmers.
Under the Agriculture Marketing Policy-2021, issued this month, the Directorate of Agriculture Marketing (DAM) has set a separate rate of profit for farmers, wholesalers and retailers, DAM sources said.
According to the policy, farmers who produce paddy, rice, wheat, maize and other food grains can set the price of their produce by adding 30% to the production cost while wholesalers can make 15% and retailers 25% profit.
The rate of profit has also been set for various other agro-products including jute, tea, cotton, tobacco, lentils, all kinds of fish (fresh, dried and frozen), egg, milk, juice, pickle and chips.
For fruits, the DAM keeps the option of 30% profit at farmer and retailer level and 20% profit at the wholesale level.
Besides, the producers are allowed to make the highest 40% profit by selling onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili, potatoes, vegetables and flowers.
However, Agricultural Economist Dr Mohammad Jahangir Alam Khan is a bit skeptical about whether farmers or producers will be able to benefit much from the Directorate of Agriculture Marketing's fixed price rate.
"This obviously will have a positive effect on the market. But, there is little chance that the farmer will get the logical price set by the DAM," he said.
To reach its benefit to the farmer-level, the government has to create a structure for making a balance between demand and production, he suggested.
People involved in market monitoring said the onion, potato and rice markets have been experiencing the most instability in recent years. It is easy to monitor the market if the rate of logical price is determined.
Deputy Director (Dhaka division) of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) Manjur Mohammad Shahriar told TBS if the prices are fixed at the producer, wholesaler and retailer level, the traders will not dare to hike the prices of any product.
DNCRP monitors commodity prices in the markets throughout the year. The organisation conducts monitoring activities in the field of commodity prices keeping in view the directives of the commerce ministry and DAM.
People concerned say farmers often have to sell at a price lower than the cost of production although they always produce crops at risk.
The Agriculture Marketing Policy makes it mandatory to display the wholesale and retail selling prices of agricultural products and agricultural inputs at open places and to keep the original receipt of the purchased product in the business establishment. Super shops have to provide all information regarding its establishment to the local DAM office.
According to the policy, wholesalers and retailers must obtain a licence to trade agricultural products in the designated market.
The policy calls for the formation of a national agricultural marketing coordination committee to implement it across the country. The 24-member body -- with the agriculture minister as advisor and agriculture secretary as chairman -- will sit at least once a year to discuss the overall situation.
This policy was formulated under the power of Section-28 of the Agricultural Marketing Act, 2018, sources said.