There is no fear of shortage of rice and food stocks in the country: Food Minister
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar said that currently the country has the highest amount of rice stock ever. Still, initiatives have been taken to increase rice imports to ensure food security and control the market. Aman cultivation in the country may be slightly disrupted due to adverse weather conditions. Not only in the country, but in the whole world there is a fear of disruption of food production.
The minister said this at a press conference organized at Naogaon Circuit House auditorium on Tuesday afternoon on the occasion of distribution of rice and flour among OMS and food friendly program and TCB card holders across the country.
Stating that the rice collection campaign will continue for two more days, the Food Minister said that 19 lakh 50 thousand 531 metric tons of rice has been collected in the current Boro collection campaign till yesterday Monday. This stock of rice is the highest ever. The collection drive will continue for two more days (today and tomorrow, Wednesday). In two days, the remaining 50 thousand metric tons of rice will be collected. Almost half of the rice collection target has been met as the farmers are getting better price of paddy in the market this time. The main objective of government procurement of paddy is that the farmers get better price of paddy in the market. That goal has also been met.
Sadhan Chandra Majumdar also said that there is no danger of shortage not only in rice but also in other food stocks. There was a problem in wheat storage, that too has been resolved. Arrangements have already been made to import wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
Sadhan Chandra Majumdar said that the OMS dealer has been increased by three times to reduce the suffering of the people, “Recently, the price of rice suddenly increased by five to six rupees beyond our calculation. People are suffering because of it. In order to reduce the suffering of the people, the OMS and food-friendly programs will be launched across the country from September 1 on the directive of the Prime Minister. Earlier, 813 OMS centers were operational across the country. Now that number has been increased to 2 thousand 363. Earlier an OMS dealer used to get one ton of rice allocation. Now every dealer will get two metric tons of rice. Apart from this, three and a half metric tons of rice will be allocated for truck sales in cities.
Sadhan Chandra Majumdar said that the price of each kg of rice distributed through OMS will be Tk 30. Preference will be given to TCB card holders at OMS centers. TCB card holders can buy five kg of rice twice a month by showing their card and common people by showing their national identity card. It will also ensure that one person cannot buy rice repeatedly.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar also said that rice will be distributed to 50 lakh families across the country through the food friendly programme. Each family can buy 30 kg of rice once a month at the rate of Tk 15 per kg. Out of the target 50 lakh households, 80 percent of households have already been screened. The verification of remaining 20 percent families will be completed by next month. Smart card will be given to every beneficiary family using digital device. As a result, there will be no scope for irregularities in the food friendly program. Meanwhile, due to reduction in oil prices, OMS and food friendly programs, the price of rice in the market will come down to a bearable level within a few days.
Rafiqul Islam, President of Naogaon District Rice Owners Group, District Food Controller Alamgir Kabir and other officials of Food Directorate were present in the press conference.