Bangladesh to resume selling rice at Tk 10 a kg for poor in March


As many as 5 million poor families were supposed to get 30 kg rice per month from September to November and March and April every year since 2016 under the programme.

Food Minister Qamrul Islam told a news conference at the Directorate General of Food in Dhaka on Thursday the programme was suspended for September, October and November last year after the floods damaged crops.

“We have come out of the situation. The programme will resume in March-April period this year and will continue in the future,” he added.

A number of agents in the scheme lost dealerships for irregularities in the distribution, such as providing rice to families that are not poor.

Hasina also warned against irregularities in the project at the time.

Qamrul on Thursday said they would not allow any irregularities or corruption in the programme.

According to him, the government needs 7,500 tonnes of rice annually for the programme while it has over 1 million tonnes in reserves.

The government has procured 540,000 tonnes rice in the ongoing Aman crop season while the target is 600,000 tonnes. “We’ll finish the procurement in time,” Qamrul said.

The government could buy only 250,000 tonnes of food grains against a target of 1.2 million tonnes after the floods in the Haor or backswamp region destroyed crops.

“The government food grain reserves had dropped to 130,000 tonnes. It was a huge crisis of rice,” he remembered.

Qamrul also said rice prices should not drop below Tk 40 a kg in the retail market, echoing Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed who had made the claim earlier.

Food Secretary Shahabuddin Ahmed and Directorate General of Food Director General Md Badrul Hasan were also present.


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