Bangladesh raises local rice purchasing price
Bangladesh raised the price the government will pay to farmers for the upcoming season's rice to 34 taka ($0.42) a kilogramme, up from 32 taka a year ago.
The government will buy 1.5 million tonnes of rice and paddy from local farmers starting from May 2, up from 1.3 million tonnes in the previous season, a senior food ministry official said.
Such procurement is crucial for the South Asian nation to feed its poor and keep domestic prices stable.
The government buys rice and wheat from local farmers to ensure a support price, build stocks for state welfare programmes and to meet emergency needs.
Bangladesh aims to produce more than 34 million tonnes of rice in the current year, up from nearly 33.5 million tonnes in the previous year.
The world's fourth-biggest producer of rice, Bangladesh consumes almost all of its production to feed its population, but often needs imports to cope with shortages caused by natural disasters such as floods or drought.
A spike in rice prices in the domestic market caused Bangladesh's annual inflation rate to accelerate in February for the second consecutive month.
Rice is the main staple for the country's 160 million people, but wheat consumption is also rising due to lifestyle changes.
The government will also procure 100,000 tonnes of wheat locally at 28 taka a kg.
Bangladesh's state grains buyer expects to import around 250,000 tonnes wheat in the 2016/17 financial year ending June, with 200,000 tonnes imported from Russia in its first government-to-government deal.
Apart from government purchases, private tradersimport around 4.5 million tonnes of wheat annually to meet growing demand, while the country's output has stagnated at about 1 million tonnes.