The prices of coarse, medium and fine quality rice came down by Tk 2-4 a kg in retail markets soon after the government cut the duty on rice import by 18 percent.
The government on June 20 decided to slash the import duty on rice to 10 percent from 28 percent, effective from July 1, in a bid to rein the instability in prices of the staple food item in the local market.
In the first four days of the current FY 2017-18, over 59,000 tonnes of rice were imported by the private sector, according to food ministry data. Over 133,000 tonnes of rice was imported in the private sector last fiscal. The government did not make any rice import in FY 17.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam has said, “The scenario in the rice market will give you an idea about the current rice price, I do not need to comment about it.”
A rice importer in Chittagong told daily sun that he will unload a consignment of 2,500 tonnes of rice by next Sunday. He said another seven rice importers will unload consignments of different verities of rice next week.
During visits to different kitchen market in the capital on Thursday, rice prices were found to be dropped by Tk 2-4 a kg.
Mohammad Faruk Hossain of Kamal Rice Agency at Karwan Bazar kitchen market told daily sun that rice prices have come down in the wholesale market, causing a fall in retail prices as well.
He also said there has been a supply shortage of rice in the wholesale market only a month ago, but now the millers and wholesalers are now selling rice on credit.
The coarse variety of rice was selling at Tk 43-46 per kg in the city on Thursday, down from Tk 46-48 per kg a week ago, according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data.
Prices of fine rice came down to Tk 54-58 a kg from Tk 55-60 per kg in the span of a week. Medium quality rice was selling at Tk 47-50 a kg on Thursday, down from 48-52 per kg a week ago. Prices of Najirsal and Minikate dropped to Tk 56-58 and Tk 54-56 a kg respectively from Tk 58-60 and Tk 55-56 a kg last week.
In the wake of the apprehension that paddy production is likely to fall this year due to flash floods and ‘blast’ disease, prices of rice continued to soar over the last few months.
On May 15, prices of coarse rice marked a rise by 71.70 percent compared to last year’s rate. The price shot up by 15.19 percent in 30 days between April 14 and May 14, according to the Department of Agricultural Marketing.
Prices of all rice varieties, especially the coarse rice consumed mostly by lower-income people, faced several spells of hikes until the influx of imported rice.