Food grain consumption and residual are likely to rise this fiscal year owing to population growth, said a report by the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
Rice consumption and residual may rise to 3.52 crore tonnes in fiscal 2014-15 from 3.48 crore tonnes a year ago and wheat consumption to 47 lakh tonnes from 43 lakh tonnes, the FAS said in its Global Agricultural Information Network report.
The projection is higher than an estimate by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) last year.
The BIDS in a study claimed that daily per capita food grain consumption was 509 grams, including rice at 462 grams.
Based on the estimate then, annual food grain consumption by the 16 crore population should be below 30 lakh tonnes a year, a food ministry official said, seeking to remain unnamed.
The FAS report said wheat consumption projection has been raised “on expectations of competitive international wheat prices” mainly because of its strong global supply.
In comparison with rice, the price of wheat flour was 8 percent below the current retail price of rice, the staple. The retail price for rice was Tk 35.5 a kilogram in Dhaka on July 10, it said.
“Because wheat imports constitute approximately 70 percent of total Bangladeshi consumption, lower international wheat prices may cause some consumers to purchase more wheat flour if rice prices remain high.”
Wheat import may rise 22.72 percent year-on-year to 33 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2014-15. Rice import may rise to 5 lakh tonnes this fiscal year, compared with 3.74 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2013-14.
The report said total rice area and production might drop to 1.18 crore hectares and 3.46 crore tonnes in fiscal 2014-15 due to lower Boro rice acreage as farmers reportedly have switched to more profitable crops.
Assuming normal weather conditions, it kept the wheat output forecasts at 13 lakh tonnes.