Prices of both coarse and premium quality rice have surged as the Aman-harvesting season comes to the end. Prices of both the rice categories have increased by Tk1-3 per kilogram for the second time in a span of roughly one month.
Farmers do not have much of their harvest in stock currently, as middlemen and large-scale businesses have already bought the staple, said rice traders, adding that the middlemen are hiking the prices according to their wish.
At retail markets in Dhaka, per kg coarse rice is being sold at Tk34-35, which was Tk30-32 even a week ago. In the meantime, medium-quality rice price is at Tk50-52, while it was at Tk48-50 a couple of days ago. Premium-quality rice prices fluctuate between Tk55 to Tk60.
State-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh's (TCB) market data says coarse rice price is up by 3.08 percent in the last one month. In mid-January, wholesalers raised the staple price in the very beginning of 2020 due to spiked paddy prices.
"We usually hike the price if the wholesalers and millers raise it. They are increasing prices frequently, which affects the market," said Karwanbazar rice wholesaler Aminul Islam.
But, the millers say that they are buying the staple from the middlemen as farmers have already sold their crops. Some large-scale farmers also have paddy stocked. These all are affecting the rice market.
Per maund of paddy to produce fine cut rice currently costs Tk1100-1150, which previously was Tk800-850. Besides, coarse paddy also rose to Tk800, from Tk600-650 per maund.
"The government procured paddy directly from the farmers. However, the seasonal middlemen and large farmers have stocked the staple. We have to buy paddy from them at a higher price," said Layek Ali, general secretary of the Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mill Owners' Association.
However, Layek Ali claims that traders raise rice price by Tk2 per kilogram if the millers raise Tk0.50. The traders also shift the blame on millers.
Meanwhile, Auto Rice Mill Association President AKM Khurshid Alam Khan said that there are a number of big companies in the rice market. "They can dictate prices in the market with their large storing capacity."
Apart from rice, price of loose sugar also increased to Tk68-70 per kg, while per kilo branded sugar costs Tk70. Non-branded loose sugar was at Tk64-65 a week ago.