GIEWS Country Brief: Bangladesh 21-October-2016



  • Aggregate rice production in 2016 forecast slightly below last year’s record level

  • Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) forecast to decrease

  • Rice prices surged to record highs, while those of wheat are stable

Aggregate rice production in 2016 forecast slightly below last year’s record level

Harvesting of the 2016 ‘’aman’’ season rice crop, accounting for 40 percent of the annual output, is expected to start in November and continue until January. Overall, favourable weather conditions during the cropping season benefited sowing activities and crop development. FAO currently forecasts the 2016 ‘’aman’’ paddy production at 20.6 million tonnes, 2 percent above the 2015 record. This reflects an increase in the area planted, in response to a rebound in prices and continued Government support and higher yields due to favourable weather conditions. Harvesting of the 2016 ‘’boro’’ and ‘’aus’’ seasons rice were completed earlier in the year. The ‘’boro’’ production is officially estimated at 28.4 million tonnes, slightly below the 2015 record, owing to a contraction in planted areas, mainly in response to low domestic prices at sowing time. Similarly, low prices were behind area cuts to the 2016 ‘’aus’ crop, which is estimated by FAO to reach 3.4 million tonnes, down 2 percent year-on-year. Overall, FAO forecasts the 2016 aggregate rice production at 52.3 million tonnes, marginally below the 2015 record level.

Harvesting of the 2016 maize crop is nearing completion and is forecast by FAO at 2.6 million tonnes, slightly above last year’s record. The 2016 minor winter wheat crop, harvested by April, is officially estimated to have increased marginally to 1.36 million tonnes.

Cereal imports in 2016/17 marketing year forecast to decrease from last year’s record

Cereal imports in the current 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 5.3 million tonnes, 6 percent down from last year’s record level. The decrease reflects lower rice imports which are forecast at 350 000 tonnes, nearly half the level of 2015/16, in line with expectations of sufficient local availabilities from a large 2016 crop and high carryover stocks. The successive increases of the import duty on rice, which in June 2016 was set to 25 percent, also trimmed down imports. This constituted the second duty increase since import tariffs were reintroduced in May 2015. Similarly, maize imports are set to decrease to 550 000 tonnes from the previous year’s high level. Wheat imports are anticipated to remain close to last year’s record at 4.4 million tonnes.

Rice prices surged to record highs, while those of wheat are stable

Retail and wholesale prices of rice reached record highs in September after strong increases since June as a result of tightening domestic supplies. Seasonal upward pressure was exacerbated by a reduced 2016 main boro and the smaller aus crops gathered earlier in the year and low imports in recent months. Ongoing Government procurement purchases, albeit not large, also provided some support. In order to make rice more affordable for the poor, the Government launched, in mid‑September, a new social safety scheme which adds to several other safety net programmes already in place.

Prices of mostly imported wheat and wheat flour were stable in September and below their year-earlier levels due to record imports by the private sector and a bumper 2016 harvest. The continuing distribution of wheat flour by the Government through Open Market Sales (OMS) also keeps prices low.

Severe floods affected large number of people in northern and central parts

Heavy monsoon rains in July 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 and damaging a total of 251 716 houses. The most affected districts include Kurigram, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Lalmonirhat and Sirajganj located in the north and Tangail, Madaripur, Manikganj and Shariatpur in the centre. The floods in July 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.