The government has raised the price of local rice purchase. It will pay to farmers for upcoming season’s rice to 30 taka ($0.38) a kilogram, up from 29 taka a year earlier, Food Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen said on Wednesday.
The government will buy 200,000 tonnes of rice from local farmers in the harvesting season starting Dec. 1, Sen said, adding that more rice would be procured locally if required.
“The purchase will boost our reserves as well as ensure fair price for farmers,” he told reporters.
Bangladesh, the world’s fourth biggest producer of rice, consumes almost all its production at home. In January, amid soaring prices of the staple, it backtracked on a plan to scrap a four-year old ban on rice exports.
Last year the government was considering lifting the ban on common rice exports to support farmers as record crops and bulging domestic reserves pushed prices below production costs.
The government buys rice and wheat from local farmers to ensure a support price to them, build stocks for government’s welfare programmes and to meet any emergency needs.
Bangladesh aims to produce more than 35 million tonnes of rice in the current year, up from nearly 34 million in the previous year.
The south Asian country produces enough rice to feed its population of 160 million, but often needs imports to cope with shortages caused by natural calamities such as floods or droughts.
Although it did not import rice last year, and is not expected to do so this year, Bangladesh was ranked as the fourth-largest importer of the grain by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2011, with a volume of 1.48 million tonnes.