The Ministry of Agriculture has fixed procurement prices for rice, paddy and wheat at Tk 27.50, Tk 20 and Tk 26 per kg respectively.
This year procurement of Boro rice, paddy and wheat will begin from May and continue for three-four months. However, wheat procurement will start from April.
Last year the procurement prices for rice, paddy and wheat were at Tk 26.50, Tk 17.50 and Tk 24.50 per kg respectively. The country then had the largest ever harvest of Boro rice at 1,87,78,154 tonnes.
The government this year plans to procure 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy, 10 lakh tonnes of rice and 1.5 lakh tonnes of wheat during the four-month drive.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Krishok Samity, an organization of farmers, Sajjad Zahir Chandan urged the government to buy rice and paddy in equal quantity to provide equal benefits to growers and millers.
"Growers will not get fair prices unless the government buys directly from them taking the increased cost of production into account as they failed to protect their investment in the seasonal (winter) vegetables," he said. Local dealers in the northern districts charged Tk five to Tk 10 more for per kg of urea and non-urea fertilizers," he added.
The government always buys rice from millers. The Krishok Somity urged the government to buy wheat and un-husked rice directly from growers at the peak harvest time to ensure fair prices for them.
"We've fixed the procurement prices on the basis of production costs. Paddy will be procured from farmers while rice from millers," a senior official of the ministry said.
The ministry in its assessment said this year the production cost of Boro paddy is around Tk 23.80 a kilogram, while the cost of milled rice is around Tk 26 plus. It estimates that an amount of around Tk 51,180 is required to produce Boro paddy in an acre of land.
"During fixing prices of food-grains the ministry calculated total costs of production. The calculation includes prices of seed and fertiliser, costs of using agriculture equipment, irrigation, labour, preparation of the land, rent of the land, bank interest and other associated expenditures to assess the actual cost of farming and fix up the government subsidy for the agriculture sector," a senior official told The Daily Observer.
According to the Food Ministry, the government procured 375,000 tonnes of Aman paddy against the target of 3 lakh tonnes.
The government proposed to buy 11 lakh tonnes food grains in the next fiscal year.
The production cost of rice and wheat in the Rabi season increased due to higher input prices. That time the Agriculture Ministry said that the government would take this into account while fixing the procurement prices for Boro paddy, rice and wheat but it did not took into account the issue of ensuring fair prices of food-grain products.
"Delayed supply of fertilizer, diesel and other inputs to growers increased the production costs of rice and wheat in the current season mainly due to transport crisis stemming from the ongoing blockade and hartals," Additional Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Faruque Ahmed said.