Rice Brand is at your doorstep! What’s your response?


The profit hunger,  the Corporate controls the daily lives of consumers  through branding its commodities and changes the lifestyle and behaviors of millions of people of the globe  as per their choice. People, worldwide is protesting unethical business practices of global corporates and fighting to bind them under ethical code of conducts. Violation of these agreed code of conducts is a normal practices of global brands, you will find if you follow the world-famous brand like Nike, Mark & Spenser’s, Levi’s, Sony etc! Lower prices for suppliers and higher prices for consumers – this is the motto of the brands. Hungry for profit, the corporate mafia’s invests millions of dollar for advertisements, but very skeptical in paying fair wages of the millions of labor of the globe. We are now in the dilemma of struggle in policy change and counter-struggle of corporate to make a loophole of the policies for making more profit. This is the common scenario of global trade, the campaigners faces this challenges in their daily lives.  Beneath the dilemma, it is created a survival threats to millions of labour particularly and low income group like consumers as a whole.

In the neo-liberal economic era , there is hardly a concrete answer against the branding, but we should examine its impacts on agriculture, where about 43 percent population of Bangladesh directly involve in agricultural sector who are marginalized and poor  and depends their lives and livelihoods on this sector.

A growing trends of branding agricultural commodities including rice is becoming more visible in the market and more and more corporate like ACI, BD Foods, Square, Aarong, Minabazar etc is trying to take controls of rice market as well as agricultural markets.

Many of us, mostly the agricultural researcher pushes commercialization of agriculture and the agricultural practitioners like aware farmers are now about convinced on it. But what will be the impacts on the millions of farmers which we need to examine before suggesting a whole-sale policy reform like commercialization. In the general sense, if we found, commercialization is inevitable, then we need to make a competition policy first which will  make a guarantee of saving lives and livelihoods of poor and marginalized farmers under commercialized agricultural system.

The drafted agricultural policy and the sixth five year plan and also election commitment of present government have acknowledged that agriculture is the largest employment sector till now in Bangladesh and the policy document has principally agreed to ensure the security of poor and marginalized farmers including small and medium farms. We need to ensure it in practice now.

In the context, we should prepare ourselves before allowing rice brands in the market. But reality is Rice Brand is at your doorstep now! So, please think a while before response! If you response without ensuring safeguard of small and medium farms like competition policy, it will increase unemployment and misuses of labour and eventually, millions of people will be added in the poverty trap which will create more destruction against development.Vision 2021 will be a nightmare!

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4 Comments

  1. Personally, I am not opposing in any sort of branding. In agriculture, we saw that some corporate giants and influential countries already took the patient rights of some corps. I am strongly odium of these activities. In our country, where nearly half of the population is directly depended on agriculture specially rice, so, we can’t allow any company branding without the shake of the poor farmers. If anyone wants to do the branding, than 1st the farmers or the cultivators should get ownership of this branding and also must get the proportion of the profit and goodwill of the products. It’s not accepted to earn money only by the company without changing the life of the main initiator.

  2. Thanks Mr. Mahbub Choudhury! Bangladesh is at the very primary stage for rice branding. They are just selling various types of rice under a brand name given by the respective company. We will see the long term impacts as you well briefed at your comments. But at this stage, contract farming is increasing which is creating a great threat to the small and medium level farms. At the long run, we will see, company will control whole the rice market as well as agricultural market and rural farmers will lose their occupation. Poverty and hunger will increase and state will fail to control the companies under free market economy. On the other hand, consumers will buy the food at the higher costs. A very few person will be healthy while the whole nation will suffer in food crisis. So, we should raise these questions now!
    Thanks again for your comment!

  3. Thanks Mr. Prodip K. Roy for a nice article on a serious but a less talked issue.
    Bangladesh is now a country with neo-liberal economy. Personally we can draw comments on rice branding, but if the government facilitates these company on the basis of comparative advantage theory, than an individual has nothing to do. Personally I am totally in a opposing position of such branding by giant corporations even is some sort of cases against the decision of government. Consumerist culture make us grasped. We are dependable to Corporates. So, until or unless the culture on national level would change, than we can not get rid of this exploitation by so-called branding by the giant corporates.
    Ultimately Bangladesh should reserve on decision making in favor of native farmers subsequently against the corporates for protecting infant and native industry of our country. Otherwise one day we must suffer collectively.

  4. Thanks Hasan!

    “if the government facilitates these company on the basis of comparative advantage theory, than an individual has nothing to do.” I don’t think, individual have not nothing to do.

    About all government makes a check and balance situation with people demand. As a community, the business people are more influential and potential actor within the state, also they are organized through trade bodies like FBCCI, DCCI etc as a institution.

    On the other hand, people have not any institution, so they couldn’t influences appropriately their demand. So, some organizations born and struggle to influence the people’s demand to the government.

    So, as a individual, obviously there is a little room to act, but when people are organized under any institution, then they can act more to influence public policy.

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