Rice prices have marked a sharp rise in the district due to a fall in import and the ‘monopoly’ of a syndicate of some rice mill owners.
Visiting retail markets in the city, the UNB correspondent found coarse rice was selling in between Tk 34-35 per kilogram, up from Tk 26-27 barely weeks back.
Besides, the prices of Miniket rice rose to Tk 48-49 from 40-41 while that BR-28 increased to Tk 38-39 from Tk 32-33. Balam rice was selling at Tk 40, up by Tk 5 from Tk 35 two weeks back.
The traders said the prices of Nazirshail have increased to Tk 50 from the previous rate of Tk 45.
According to some buyers and traders, the crisis has been created as mill owners were hoarding paddy as it has been the peak season.
Besides, wholesalers could not import rice from India, Myanmar and Thailand over the last one year as the government imposed a 28 percent import duty and one percent landing charge on rice import to protect the interest of local farmers.
President of Khulna Rice Traders’ Association Manir Ahmed said the monopolistic attitude of rice mill owners is also a reason behind the price spiral apart from the increased import duty.
M Irul Islam, manager of Nahar Auto Rice Mill in the city, said they could not procure adequate rice this time due to an increase in the paddy price at local markets. “So, we couldn’t supply rice to the retail markets,” he added.