FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Rice production in 2017 forecast to increase, but floods dampen prospects for main “boro” crop
Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) forecast to increase to record levels
Rice prices increasing and at near-record highs, while those of wheat decreasing
Flash floods dampen prospects for 2017 main “boro” paddy crop
Harvesting of the 2017 almost entirely irrigated “boro” paddy crop, accounting for some 55 percent of annual output, will be completed in June. Adequate irrigation water supplies and favourable weather conditions benefitted “boro” paddy development this season, although excess precipitation in late March and early April triggered localized flooding over northeastern producing areas. The inundations occurred just before harvest time, impacting crops in Sylhet, Dhaka and Mymensingh divisions in particular.
Planting of the minor “aus” paddy crop, which accounts for 7 percent of annual output, is currently ongoing and will be followed by the June start of “aman” plantings. Assuming normal growing conditions prevail, early prospects for these crops are favourable, on anticipation that attractive paddy prices will stimulate increases in plantings. As a result and pending assessments of “boro” damages incurred, FAO tentatively forecasts aggregate 2017 paddy production at 53.1 million tonnes, 1 percent above last year’s level.
Harvesting of the 2017 recently-completed minor winter wheat crop is estimated by FAO at 1.4 million tonnes, reflecting an increase in yields owing to favourable weather conditions.
Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year forecast to increase to record level
Cereal imports in the current 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 5.9 million tonnes, 11 percent above last year’s high level and a new record. The increase reflects larger wheat imports, which are officially forecast at 5.4 million tonnes, up 24 percent from last year’s level owing to increased domestic demand for high-quality wheat for milling. By contrast, rice imports in the 2016/17 marketing year (April/March), which already concluded, are estimated at close to 115 000 tonnes, well below the 614 000 tonnes imported in 2015/16. Maize imports are anticipated to remain close to last year’s average level of 400 000 tonnes.
Rice prices increasing, while those of wheat decreasing
Retail and wholesale prices of rice have been increasing since February 2017 following seasonal trends. Prices were 35 percent higher than a year earlier, after steep increases registered in the second part of 2016 in response to lower imports and reduced 2016 main “boro” and “aus” outputs. Prices of mostly imported wheat and wheat flour have been generally stable during the last 12 months with a slight decrease in March, as a result of improved availabilities from the 2017 wheat harvest and increased imports in recent months. The continuing distribution of wheat flour by the Government through Open Market Sales (OMS) also contributes to keep prices at low levels.
Large number of people in northern and central parts affected by severe floods in 2016
Heavy monsoon rains in July 2016 caused a series of localized floods and landslides, mostly concentrated in northern and central parts of the country, affecting at least 3.7 million people. The most affected districts include Kurigram, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Lalmonirhat and Sirajganj, located in the north, and Tangail, Madaripur, Manikganj and Shariatpur, in the centre. Floods followed earlier tropical Cyclone Roanu which triggered strong winds, landslides and flooding over southern coastal areas in mid-May affecting at least 1.3 million people.