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Food inflation is real, denial won`t do

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05th-Nov-2017       
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FOOD inflation is running all time high in the country as average quality rice sells now at Tk 65 per kg compared to around Tk 40 two months back. Vegetable is also selling at twice the price now from two months back. For example, onion now sells Tk 80-85 per kg at consumers' end and this price is just soaring upward. The impact of surging food prices is hitting hard the people. The poor and middle-income people are worst affected and being forced now to cut spending on health care and education for children.

The government leaders say the country has no food crisis avoiding to say how price inflation is devastating the life of the common people. Comments by some Ministers that the price level is within people's buying power as people's income has also increased looks like a joke. The truth is that the Govt stock of rice has reached a dangerous low level of just 4.4 lakh tonnes against the 8 lakh tonnes minimum requirements. Govt's wrong procurement policy is mainly responsible for it

It is true that pay and allowances of the government servants have been doubled in recent time on point of buying their loyalty, but the income of people  working in private sector and self-employed has not increased while surging price of essentials are making their life miserable. A government, which cares little of the well-being of the common, is not paying heed to such situation.

Government leaders blame floods and natural calamities for poor rice production as a cause of the supply shortage of rice and vegetable to market. The government is also importing huge volume of rice and wheat. Deals were signed to import over 27, lakh tonnes in some estimates. But enough imports are not reaching for reasons not known to the people but supply shortage in the market is causing havoc to ordinary people. Many fear dishonest quarters have their hands in the mismatch taking ordinary people hostage in the market.  Imports are reported but not seen enough in the market influencing the price. We believe the slow down in import need to be fairly investigated to see what are the causes impeding arrival of enough import in the country.

Agricultural experts, reported by a daily recently, said that damage to rice and other crops by floods and blast attack made Bangladesh among the worst victims of food shortage. Scientists were able to increase the country's rice production by many times but the government is failing to protect crops from recurring floods and attacks by pests and blasts. The poor performance of the Government Ministries and leadership can't defend their failure but in our political culture nobody accepts blame and leave office to make room for more efficient people to take care of public matters.

Food import offers fertile ground for high corruption at high places. Moreover private importers are also making their fortune while retailers and traders are running monopoly without government intervention to stop hoarding and black mailing people in the market. In our view the index of food inflation is enough for the government to understand how the situation has run out of control. It is time ordinary people must be saved.


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