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The explanation is given by the food minister and the secretary for importing rice and wheat at high prices

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder and Food Secretary Md. gave an ‘explanation’ for buying rice and wheat at higher prices from abroad. Ismail Hossain.

In a press conference organized at the Secretariat on Tuesday regarding the food situation, the Food Minister and the Food Secretary gave an ‘explanation’ to the journalists’ questions about buying rice and wheat from abroad at high prices. At this time, they also informed the amount of foodgrains being bought from abroad.

In response to the journalist’s question, the food minister said that the price of rice and wheat fluctuates in the international market. This week looks three dollars less than last week. When Bangladesh bargained to buy, the price was high. Bangladesh does not have the capacity to bring and release wheat in five to seven ships at a time. According to the tender, not more than two vessels can be discharged in a month. Each of which has 50 thousand tons. So it will take until January to bring in Russian wheat and redeem it. Prices will be higher in November, December and January.

Then the journalists wanted to know that the day the ministry decided to import wheat from Russia, on August 24, the price in the international market was close to $324 per ton. Including other costs, the estimated cost is $380 per ton. There, the government is buying 500,000 tons of wheat at the rate of $430 per ton. This is a question. Another question is, the parboiled rice which is being bought from Vietnam at the rate of 521 dollars per ton, would have been cheaper if bought from India. Again, Vietnam does not provide that rice directly. Giving through Thailand. So even if you buy it from Thailand, it would be 50 to 60 dollars less per ton. As a result, the government is losing. What do you say about this?

In response, the food minister said that a letter has been sent to buy rice directly from Thailand. More than once. They responded in so many days what sample, what price, how to get, where to ship, etc. There is a disagreement that they have not given rice even after making an agreement with Thailand once before. Still they came forward. The government is still ready to buy rice from Thailand. The government is trying. Because, the government’s import target is not only five and a half lakh tons, but much more. Again, because of the quality, the price of Vietnamese rice is high.

At this stage, Food Secretary Ismail Hossain said, Thailand has officially announced that it will tender first, then after five to six months it will be able to provide rice. But the government’s target is October, November and December. What will happen if there is five to six months after the tender!

When the issue of Russian wheat came up again, the food minister said, ‘We have taken the right decision. Seven dollars less than the estimated price is being bought. The Food Secretary said, an explanation needs to be given in this regard. Because, since the word has come. There was a negative report in a newspaper. In fact, there is a misunderstanding of some information.

Ismail Hossain said, they sat in discussion on August 24. On that day, Russian wheat prices were between $330 and $337 per ton. Here the government has signed a contract for $430 subject to all regulations. How many things need to be known in this case. The issues are—wheat will be supplied in phases for four months after the opening of the LC.

There was time till 31 December. But opening the LC was late. So it could have been another week late. In this situation, the price is fixed based on the average price. He told about the increase in the price in the international market then, he said, then they will supply at the contract price.

The food secretary also said that the ship fare is high due to the distance. He said, ships are also insufficient in this part. Due to uncertainty between the wars, freight rates increased from 20 to 40 percent. Again, the capacity of the silo is not such that five lakh tons will be brought down tomorrow and maintained the next day.

And last year’s experience is that we had to wait 10 to 12 days for the release of the ship. All things considered, the government has taken this opportunity at a competitive rate. The government has benefited from it. This was necessary to ensure food security of the people.

According to the information of the Ministry of Food, the government currently has more than 19 lakh 64 thousand tons of food grains (rice and wheat) stored in the country.

In the press conference, the food minister said that five lakh tons of wheat is being bought from Russia at the rate of $430 (per ton). 2 lakh 30 thousand tons of rice is being bought from Vietnam. One lakh tons of rice is also being bought from India. Two hundred thousand tons of rice is also being bought from Myanmar. But it has not been approved yet. The government’s target is to buy 10 lakhs or more foodgrains if there is storage space. This will be done in coordination with Aman.