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Bengal sees rapid rise in rice prices

Price ranges of rice, which is the staple diet program of the men and women...

Price ranges of rice, which is the staple diet program of the men and women of Bengal, has increased by nearly ₹2-3 a kg in the past 1 7 days on the back of sudden spurt in desire and an predicted small source next closure of a vast majority of rice mills in the Point out.

Value of prevalent variety (Swarna) rice has increased to ₹26-27 a kg at mill conclusion, as in opposition to ₹23-24 about ten days in the past. In the retail industry, costs have gone up by nearly ₹3-5 a kg with Swarna fetching shut to ₹30 a kg, as in opposition to ₹26-27 a kg some days in the past. The industry is anticipating one more 5-10 per cent rise in costs in the days to occur as materials remain tight.

Mills shut

About fifty-60 per cent of the mills across a variety of districts have been pressured to shut down due to labour scarcity as a vast majority of workers employed in these mills have gone back to their villages due to the pandemic scare. This has impacted production of rice from paddy at a time when consumption has nearly doubled.

“People have been stocking up far more rice than their regular consumption due to the uncertainty around the extent of lockdown. The lower consumption of fish and meat all through the lockdown period has also led to a spurt in desire for rice, leading to bigger costs,” Debnath Mondal, Chairman, Bengal Rice Mils’ Association, explained to BusinessLine.

In accordance to sources, the regular each day consumption of rice in Bengal is approximated to be shut to four,000 tonnes. This surged to as high as 7,000-eight,000 tonnes a day when the lockdown was announced as men and women have been stocking up materials.

Mills presently functioning are also incurring losses as there is rarely any industry for the byproducts of paddy this kind of as rice bran, husk, and broken rice. Practically 60 per cent of the paddy can be transformed into rice and the remaining arrives out as byproducts and is utilised in creating oil and feed for cattle and poultry, and many others.

“Most of these mills that use our byproducts are shut so there is rarely any industry for them now. Although the selling price of rice has increased at mill conclusion, this is not enough to offset the losses. So there is possible to be further more enhance in rice costs,” an operator of a mill in Hooghly district reported.

Arrivals from other States

Whilst closure of rice mills in Bengal have impacted materials on 1 hand, arrival of some variants this kind of as raw rice from Bihar and basmati from Punjab and Haryana have been hit by logistics problems.

“Trucks carrying the rice have been caught at a variety of factors as there is a massive lined-up of trucks. This is impacting materials in the industry,” reported Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade.

A range of shopkeepers BusinessLine spoke to also complained about poor availability of the prevalent variety in the industry. Whilst wholesale costs have increased, shopkeepers are also shelling out far more on transport expenses in the absence of car preparations by suppliers. This will also be handed on to people.

Even although some of the mills are running, they are uncertain about the viability of functions soon after some days since they panic the stocks will before long operate out.

Farm labour scarcity

Farmers are nervous that harvesting (of boro paddy) would be delayed since of scarcity of farm labourers.

West Bengal provides about 15-sixteen million tonnes of paddy each and every yr across the 3 seasons that consist of aus, aman and boro. The kharif paddy (aus and aman) output accounts for about 70 per cent of the complete production in the Point out.

“This is a very important time……We have to ensure that pesticides and manure is provided to the crop so that we can start out harvesting by the second 7 days of April. However, there are rarely any labourers on the fields. We are not sure if we could begin harvesting work on time,” reported Abdar Rezzak, a fifty five-yr previous paddy farmer in Burdwan district.