Retail price of food: The national average retail price of rice decreased after Boro harvest started in mid-April and that of wholemeal wheat flour (atta) also decreased slightly during the reporting quarter. The price of lentils (masur) began to increase prior to the month of Ramadan (June-July 2015) and is still increasing; however, no significant increase in the price of oil (palm oil) has been observed during the period.
Inflation: General inflation for the reporting quarter, measured by the point to point variation in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), decreased from 6.32 percent in April 2015 to 6.25 percent in June 2015 on the back of a similar reduction in food inflation. This is in resemblance to the first half of FY 2014/15 when general inflation dropped steadily along with food inflation (and non-food inflation increased).
However, food inflation has increased since the beginning of 2015. It has gone up from 6.07 percent in January to 6.32 percent in June - an increase of 0.25 percentage point in six months. Meanwhile non-food inflation fluctuated during the second half of FY 2014/15 and stood at 6.15 percent in June 2015 (6.01 percent in January).
Remittances: Month-on-month remittance inflow (in USD) showed an increasing trend during the reporting quarter, rising by 2 percent from April to May and 9 percent in June. However, the average remittance inflow in the reporting quarter is around 7.6 percent higher than in the previous quarter. Remittance inflow for the FY 2014/15 reached USD 15.31 billion, the highest in the country’s history. The year-on-year average rose about 8 percent this year compared to FY 2013/14 (USD 14.23 billion) as per Bangladesh Bank statistics.
Food production, import and stock: The FY 2014/15 target for food grain production was 34.82 million MT for rice and 1.35 million MT for wheat - a total of 36.17 million MT (FPMU, FSR 101), up by almost 2 percent from the previous year’s actual production. Total Aman production in the 2014/15 season, although slightly less than the target, increased by 1.31 percent from the previous Aman season. Cumulative import of rice was 1.5 million MT for FY 2014/15 which is almost four times more than the cumulative import in FY 2013/14 (FPMU, FSR 101). Most of this import was during the reporting quarter. Up to end March 2015, 0.65 million MT of rice was imported, mostly by the private sector.
Public food procurement and distribution: The actual foodgrain procurement in FY 2014/15 was 1.68 million MT of which 1.47 million MT was rice and 0.21 million MT was wheat. Cumulative distribution of food grains at the end of FY 2014/15 was 1.83 million MT of which 67 percent was rice and 33 percent was wheat as of 30 June 2015.
Wage rate and purchasing capacity: In March, which is agricultural lean season, the average wage for a female labourer was only 213 Taka/day whereas for a male labourer it was 285 Taka/day – a difference of 72 Taka/day. After the Aman harvesting period ended, there were far less work opportunities for female agricultural labourers than for their male counterparts. In the beginning of the Boro harvesting season in midApril, with an increasing demand for agricultural labourers, the average wage rate of female labourers had a rise from 213 to 243 Taka/day which then was still 65 Taka less than that of a male labourer.
Wage data collected from BBS till April 2015 and WFP sub-offices for May and June 2015 show that the average Terms of Trade (ToT) of agricultural day labourers’ wages for rice in the months of both the