Bhiosi Ghat is one of the largest paddy markets in the country. It is situated on the bank of the Meghna River in Ashuganj, Brahmanbaria. Around one lakh maunds of paddy are traded here every day.
More than 250 rice mills buy paddy from businessmen and farmers here. But over the last week, the trading of paddy fell more than 50 percent in this market.
Sources say that only 25-30 thousand maunds of paddy were traded per day in the market last week. Farmers and businessmen say the fall in paddy price has caused the drop in trading.
Currently, BR-28 and BR-29 paddies are mainly arriving in the market from different places of the country including Brahmanbaria, Kishoreganj, Netrokona, Sunamganj, Sylhet and Habiganj. After the price dropped, a maund of BR-28 paddy is being sold for Tk800-850 and BR-29 for Tk750-760. But in the retail market, a 50kg sack of BR-28 rice is being sold for Tk1650-1700 and BR-29 rice for Tk1580-1600.
Businessmen say they bought the paddy at a higher price than that in the market. So the fall in price here has caused them a great loss. They are selling paddy to rice mill owners at a lower price.
Many of them went back without selling their product.
Jahangir Alam, a farmer from Kishoreganj, said, "I got 500 maunds of BR-29 from my field. It cost Tk1000 per maund. But when I came to the market, I found that the price is Tk800 per maund. So I have decided not sell the paddy here."
"I have no agriculture card so I cannot sell my paddy directly to the government," he added.
Uzzal Khan, a businessman from Ashuganj, said, "I have been involved in the paddy business for 20 years. I sell paddy after procuring it from different places. For the last one week, the price of paddy has been low in the market. Many farmers are selling their harvest at less than their production cost."
Billal Miah, a trader from Sarail upazila, said, "I bought BR-28 for Tk900 per maund and BR-29 for Tk800 from farmers. There are many additional costs too. But I had to sell BR-28 for Tk800 and BR-29 for Tk760 per maund. I will lose more than Tk50,000 after selling one thousand maunds of paddy."
Kawser Ahmed, a rice mill owner, said, "The price of paddy is low because the price of rice is also low. There is enough stock of rice in the market, as a result, the demand is also low."
Zobaer Haider Bulu, president of the Ashuganj rice mill owners' association, said, "The price of paddy was good a week ago. But, the price of rice has not increased with the price of paddy. That is why the price of paddy is down now. The price of rice and of paddy are closely connected. That is why it is not possible to increase the price of paddy."
"There are piles of unsold rice in many rice mills. So if they sell rice at the current price, they will make a loss," he added.