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Posted: 2019-05-16 18:00:00

Frustrated after incurring huge losses, many farmers are demanding that the government procure paddy or rice directly from the growers instead of rice mill owners.

“In this system, farmers have no choice but to sell their harvest to local rice mill owners. So, those mid-dlemen become the beneficiary and the farmers become victims,” said Aziz Mollah, a farmer of Dhulauri village of Pabna’s Santhia upazila.

Meanwhile, students in different districts have joined the frustrated farmers in protesting unjustifiably low prices of paddy.

Farmers said their production cost was higher than the market price of rice and paddy.

“We had to spend Tk 500 to Tk 550 to produce each mound of rice. But the price hovers between Tk 400 or Tk 450,” said Ripon Islam, a farmer at Pakarmatha village Lalmonirhat’s Aditmari upazila.

“We are incurring huge losses. We are selling paddy at low prices. How will the farmers continue to cul-tivate paddy?” said Alawal Haque, a farmer in Dinajpur.

Meanwhile, Zulfiquar Rahman, director (procurement) at the Directorate General of Food, said 35,000 tonnes of rice had already been procured this season.

The government last month announced it would buy 12.5 lakh tonnes of boro this season to ensure fair prices for farmers.

Of the amount, 10 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice and 1.5 lakh tonnes of aromatic rice will be purchased by the food department. It will also buy 1.5 lakh tonnes of paddy.

The department said it would pay Tk 36 for a kg of parboiled and Tk 35 for aromatic.

The DG Food said it would buy paddy at Tk 26 a kg and the procurement would continue till the end of August.

In Rangpur, Krishok Sangram Parishad yesterday spread paddy on the street yesterday morning and formed a human chain demanding fair prices.

Farmers announced that they would never cultivate paddy again.

Political activists also demonstrated on the streets. 

In Rajshahi University, leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra Federation yesterday formed a hu-man chain demanding to fair prices for paddy growers.

On Wednesday, over a hundred students of the university demonstrated.

Our Dinajpur correspondent reports that the district’s Deputy Commissioner Mahmudul Alam inaugu-rated the government procurement yesterday.

Our Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Pabna and Rajshahi University correspondents contributed to the report

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