Don't let rice and salt to follow the path of onion


PRICES of rice have been increasing. This is happening at a time when people are trying hard to absorb tremendous shock following the abnormal price hike of onion. Like the onions, the millers earlier had claimed surplus of rice and demanded cash incentives to export their product; whereas now prices of rice are climbing upward showing lack of reserve. Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data shows that depending on quality, retail prices of the cereal rose between 4 percent and 10 percent a kg in Dhaka city since November 10 -- that means Tk 2 to Tk 6 rise per kg. What's significant is that rice prices started rising when farmers are harvesting the second biggest paddy crop, Aman. Farmers produced 1.40 crore tonnes of the crop last year and they hope 1.94 crore tonnes of Boro paddy this year. The price of a 50kg sack of rice rose by Tk 300 in Dinajpur, a major rice growing district. Interestingly, the rice prices had started falling since October last year due to surplus production. Like the millers, the farmers had also been protesting for not getting fair price. But what has happened just with a few days that rice becomes pricier!  
When we were preparing this article last evening, at that time thousands of people were thronging to shops across the country to get a pack of salt following a rumour of price hike. Though the government urged all not to get confused, saying the current salt reserve is much more than the country needs, the frightened consumers didn't pay heed to it. We don't blame the consumers for not keeping trust on the government. If we say truly, the people don't believe in on government's statement anymore, as they have already been cheated with spending extra money for the onions. Despite huge reserve, the government failed to monitor market properly and for that reason the hoarders stockpiled the necessary kitchen item to get extra money. Now they are dumping rotten onions in the canals and other places.
It's clear; the authorities have lost control of the market. Like the onions, if the same thing happens for rice and salt, it will be very tough for the government to tackle the situation.