The government has expanded the coverage area of 'Krishoker App' to 272 upazilas as the digital system gradually appeared popular among farmers since it was introduced in 2019 in 16 upazilas for procuring food grains, including rice.
"The farmers of the 272 upazilas can now be enlisted as intending grain sellers and are registering them using the 'Krishoker App'," Directorate General of Food Director (Procurement Division) Md Raihanul Kabir told BSS.
He said the decision was taken to bring the upcoming Aman procurement system under the app's coverage in this particular 272 upazilas out of the country's 495 upazilas as the Aman procurement is set to start early next month.
The Directorate General of Food, however, set December 15 as the deadline for intending Aman producing farmers while all farmers could get them registered thereafter in the 272 upazilas.
Kabir said the directorate by now issued a 13-point directive to concerned food controllers’ field officials at the upazila level in Dhaka, Rangpur, Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Mymensingh regions.
Food directorate officials said the system reduced the farmers' time, cost and other hassles, including intermediaries’ interventions, while it nearly eliminated the corrupt practices involving the procurement.
"It (Krishaker App) is a time-saving and hassle-free system which simultaneously ensured transparency in government's food procurement system," food controller at the directorate Nasir Uddin said.
Subash Chandra Ghose, a farmer of Gangni upazila in Meherpur, said the app relieved fellow farmers from various time-consuming and procedural hassles which also cost their money.
"Previously we were required to visit repeatedly upazila agriculture and food offices (silos/local supply depot) to talk and pursue the officials concerned to get our grains procured... the system (Krishoker App) has made the process much easier," he said.
Subash said the app helped them supply their grain directly to the government warehouses evading intermediaries though initially "the system appeared a bit complicated."
"The programme is being implemented on a pilot basis... it will cover 300 upazilas in the upcoming Boro season in 2022-23 fiscal year," a food official said.
The government has fixed a target of procuring 5 lakh tonnes of Aman rice and 3 lakh tonnes of Aman paddy from farmers all over the country.
The price for procuring the rice has been fixed at Tk 42 per kg and Tk 28 for paddy, according to the directorate.
The farmers could download the 'Krishoker App' from the Google play store using their mobile phone numbers, passwords and national identity numbers.