Statistics of rice production is not actual as field
Special Correspondent || TheAgriculturist
The Department of Agriculture claims that Bangladesh is self-sufficient in rice production, producing more than demand. But sometimes the rice market is becoming volatile. The price of unbridled rice is making the common man miserable. So the 'question' has arisen about the information on rice production.
Food ministry officials say, if the production is more than the demand, why go for rice import? Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Agriculture have recently reacted angrily to the lack of an accurate picture of crop production from the field level.
Agriculture department officials said they gave production data by taking samples from the field stage. Although there is a manpower crisis. Due to coronavirus, they could not go to the field that way this time. They also said that if the demand for rice is not accurate, the exact picture will not be available with the actual production information.
In a seminar on rice stocks in August last year, the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRI) had predicted that there would be a surplus of 5.5 million tonnes of rice even after meeting the demand. If the production of Aus and Aman is added by November (2020), there will be no danger of food shortage.
In December, BRRI said in a research report that even if the country's domestic food demand is met, there will be a surplus of at least 3 million tonnes of rice by June next year (2021). At the same time, the Department of Agricultural Extension and the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) also provide production data.
The agriculture department has set a target of producing 1.56 million tonnes of aman rice this season. But this time the price of coarse rice has reached Rs 50 per kg in the mass season of Aman. Rice import duty has been reduced to control the market. Rice is being imported both publicly and privately.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder told Jago News, "The agriculture ministry said and the BBS said they set up demonstrations and plots of 5 kathas and 10 kathas in each district." They give an account of the production that takes place in that plot. We can't go on like this. '
Asked whether the production figures were accurate, the food minister said, "I will not say it out loud. Let Agriculture and BCSE say that. '
At a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Agriculture on January 8, it was alleged that the field administration did not provide accurate information to the government about rice production. The members of the standing committee said that the government was facing an embarrassing situation due to incomplete or faulty information.
Anwarul Abedin Khan, a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Agriculture and an MP from the Mymensingh-9 constituency, told in a media, "It was discussed at the last meeting. The Parliamentary Standing Committee has found discrepancies with the information that comes from the field. For this reason, the chairman of the committee Matia Chowdhury reacted angrily. She said there is a lot of discrepancy between the real and the field picture, try to keep it right. If you talk about so much rice surplus, then why should the government import rice? She said to be careful so that it does not happen again next time. '
He added, ‘I also think that those who are there, including the Department of Agricultural Extension, did not actually give accurate information about production. Talking about surplus, having to buy again, it became a different day and night! This time the matter was caught.'
The director-general of the Department of Agricultural Extension-DAE Asadullah said, ‘We make reports one way, BBS does another way. We take more samples because we have people in the field. I think our calculation is reasonable because we took more samples.'
‘We will do more work in this (production calculation) process. So that we can give an average of the production with more samples' added by DAE DG.
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, Department of Agricultural Economics, Chief Scientific Officer Saiful Islam told "Even by saving, the price can be increased. If the supply of rice in the market decreases through stocking, the price will go up. Many are holding paddy in the hope of profit. That is a fact."
Elaborating on the production calculation process of the Rice Research Institute, he said, "I will talk to some farmers as a sample - how much mana of paddy has been planted in one bigha of land." We are 10-12 people, it is not possible for us to go all over the country. It is not possible for us to catch those from whom we are giving information if they give wrong information.