Babubazaar a wholesale rice market of Dhaka city, established at badamtali near the bank of the river buriganga in 1925. Khwaja Abdul Hafiz of ahsan manzil and a few other businessmen leased in from the government a place at the riverbank to establish the market. The market had only seven to ten shops in the 1930s. During the Second World War, the British government restricted rice trade in the open market. As a result, rice trade in Badamtali was suspended for a few years. The united front government of East Bengal withdrew the restriction on the rice trade in 1954. The market was gradually extended up to the Babubazaar area in the neighbourhood. Since the mid-1960s, Babubazaar and Badamtali became known as the major wholesale rice markets in Dhaka city.
At present, there are around three hundred and fifteen rice Adats (wholesale stock houses) at Babubazaar. Most of these adats are partnership businesses. Some are family owned enterprises but there is also some sole proprietorship of rice trading houses. In the past, supplies of rice came mainly from Barisal and Mymensingh. Bulk of the rice supplies were transported by water transport. As of now, the major parts of rice supplies to Babubazaar come from Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Naogaon, Mymensingh, Jamalpur and Sherpur. Bulk of the supplies is transported by truck.
Wholesalers in Babubazaar buy rice for cash or in credit and sell for cash or on a commission basis to the city's retailers from local markets. But before re-sale, the Babubazaar traders grade the rice into three broad qualities: high quality, medium quality and low quality. The peak season of rice trade is between May and December. [Md Masudur Rahman]