Qamrul refuses to give stats of food reserve

Food Minister Qamrul Islam has rubbished reports of “low food stock”, at a time when Bangladesh is importing rice following a price flare and market instability.

In face of such, the minister who once made the headlines for importing substandard wheat, has refused to share specific information of the current food reserve.

“We have enough food reserve,” he said in response to reporters’ repeated queries. However, when asked what the existing food reserve was, he replied: “I won’t say”.

Qamrul’s press briefing comes in the backdrop of The Daily Star newspaper running a lead titled ‘Rice crisis catches Qamrul napping’ where it says food stock has plummeted to a six-year low.

Qamrul has also brushed away the “six-year low” statistics as false.

The total food stock in the country will be 12 lakh metric tonnes by September this year, said Qamrul, pointing to the future when the reporters wanted to know about the current situation.

He said, by August, the total food grain reserve of Bangladesh will reach 8-10 lakh metric tonnes piled from internal and external sources.

In the process, a total of 4.5 lakh metric tonnes of rice will be imported from other countries including India, Myanmar and Thailand by August, he added.

He blamed the recent price flare of rice, the prime staple, on some dishonest businessmen and millers, who “took advantage of the recent flood situation in the haor areas.”

Qamrul said the government is preparing a blacklist of the rice millers who did not sell to the government during the procurement period. “The government will not buy from them next year.”

Source: The Daily Star

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