DHAKA, Nov 26 (BSS)-Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury today said food price largely depends on the stability of fuel and fertilizer prices that are maintaining an upward trend in the international market pushing up the cost of food.
"It is not possible to stabilize food price unless fuel and fertilizer prices are controlled," she said and urged international agencies to do their part for stabilizing the fueland fertilizer market.
The agriculture minister was addressing a policy dialogue on Rice and Paddy Price Instability at CIRDAP auditorium here.
Matia Chowdhury was bitterly critical about the role of international agencies especially on food and agriculture, saying that these agencies seldom consider the interest of the people
while prescribing policies.
Addressing the dialogue as chief guest, the agriculture
minister said the government is fully aware about the aman and
boro production, existing prices of rice and paddy and the
interest of farmers.
"The government will take steps whatever necessary for
stabilizing the rice and paddy price. You (International
agencies) do whatever you can for taming up the upward trend of
fuel and fertilizer prices," she said.
About the government's position about the procurement of
aman, she said that the government would take decision
considering the overall situation. If price of aman goes down,
the government will procure aman to keep the price situation
stable and protect the interest of growers, she added.
"The government procures rice and paddy at rescue prices,
not incentive prices. So it will consider procuring aman if price
witnesses a big fall in the market," Matia said when some
speakers were saying that the government should procure aman at a
reasonable rate to protect the interest of growers.
The agriculture minister urged all not to be worry about the
price of aman and the government's procurement plan, saying that
farmers, including small growers, do not face any pressure like
boro farmers to sell aman because they have their own techniques
to preserve and store aman that is harvested in winter, a dry
"Boro farmers face the pressure of force-sale mainly because
of their little storage spaces. They harvest boro during rains
that can easily damage the paddy," she added.
About the concern of aman price, the agriculture minister
said there is nothing to be worry about the aman price because
the market remains stable. "I returned to the capital from my
village home in Sherpur last week and I saw that aman price is
varying from Tk 675 and Tk 700-Tk730 per mound in the local
market," she added.
She said before the harvest of aman rice price shows an
upward trend, especially in the country's southern region, every
year. But this year, the rice price has remained stable because
the government took a Tk 35 core special credit programme for
encouraging farmers to grow aush in the southern region, he
added. "Farmers got a good harvest that helped keep the rice
price stable, she said.
Chaired by agriculture secretary C Q K Mustaq Ahmed, the
policy dialogue was organized jointly by BRAC, the Bangladesh
Rice Foundation (BRF) and the International Food Policy Research
Institute (IFPRI). It was addressed, among others, by Prof MA
Sattar Mandal, Dr Sajjad Zohir and Dr Akter Ahmed.
Executive Director of BRAC and BRF Chairman Dr. Mahabub
Hossain presented the keynote on Instability in Paddy and Rice
Prices: Issues, Impact and Policy Options.