Food directorate cancels contract with 1400 rice millers


The Directorate of Food has cancelled business contract with the country's 1400 rice millers for their failure in supplying the food grains in Aman season under the public procurement drive this year, officials said.

The directorate also penalised them as it (Directorate) failed to achieve the procurement target of 0.3 million tonnes in Aman season.

Rice procurement from the domestic sources during Aman season in 2013 was 0.275 million tonnes against the official target of 0.3 million tonnes.

The Directorate General of Food (DGoF) procured 0.35 million tonnes of rice in Aman season in last calendar year 2012.

"A total of 15,000 millers were contracted with the DGoF to supply 0.3 million tonnes of rice at Tk 28 per kg in Aman season," DGoF Director (Procurement) Md Badrul Ahsan said.

"The directorate had made a list of more than 1400 millers who failed to supply their contracted quantity of rice during the period," he said.

Md Ahsan said: "The DGoF has confiscated their collateral."

"At the same time, the food directorate has suspended business ties with the millers for next two years", he said.

According to the DGoF, a miller's collateral is total price of the required jute sacks (50 kg sack). Price of per piece sack is Tk 80.

A senior official at the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU) under the ministry of food told the FE that rice procurement from domestic sources gave the country a great relief as import reached almost the zero level.

"A record 1.364 million tonnes of rice (including the total storage of Boro and Aman seasons) were procured from the domestic sources in 2012 which gave the country a great relief as it helped avoid rice import", he said.

"During the period, the rice price was hovering between $380 and $530 (normal and parboiled) per tonne in the global market", he informed.

He said: "We have succeeded in saving at least US $250 million during the period by avoiding import of nearly 0.5 million tonnes of rice".

He pointed out that the government had a MoU with Thailand to buy 1.0 million tonnes of parboiled rice at $500 per tonne if Bangladesh needed.

We had a plan to import nearly 0.5 million tonnes in 2012, but the locally procured rice helped avoid the import worth $250 million.

He also admitted that besides government initiatives, a handsome production of 33.8 million tonnes--also helped in procuring huge quantity of rice from the local market players.

Bangladesh's rice import was almost zero in 2012 which was 0.736 million tonnes in 2011, DGoF data showed.

The DGoF has now a stockpile of 0.975 million tonnes of cereal comprising 0.736 million tonnes of rice and 0.239 million tonnes of wheat.

Meanwhile, the directorate has targeted to buy 0.85 million tonnes of rice and 0.15 million tonnes of paddy in the Boro season this year.

A total of 17,844 millers have been contracted to supply the targeted rice by September this year.

DGoF officials said that the directorate has completed 50 per cent of the targeted procurement for Boro season by July 22.

However, the sate-run Bangaldesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) showed rice production was a record 33.8 million tonnes in 2011-12 financial year.

The country's rice production will remain stagnant in the just concluded financial year, BBS officials predicted.