Boro production fell 5 percent year-on-year to 1.8 crore tonnes during the last harvest, the lowest since 2009-10, after floods wiped out crops in a huge number of paddy fields in the northeast.
As a result, total rice output declined by 2 percent year-on-year to 3.38 crore tonnes in the last fiscal year, according to a preliminary estimate of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
Crops on an area of about 3 lakh hectares were damaged because of the floods, said a senior BBS official seeking anonymity.
The floods, along with low stocks of foodgrains in public storages, fuelled a price hike of the staple food, causing it to reach a record high in mid-September. This led the government not only going for imports by itself but also to slash import duty to augment supply and stabilise the market.
Though prices gradually declined in the last one month, it is still higher than that of the same period last year, according to figures from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
The BBS, which awaits for approval from the higher authority for releasing the data, estimates that Boro paddy was harvested from about 44.5 lakh hectares, down from the usual acreage of 47-48 lakh hectares as recorded in the last couple of years.
Boro accounts for 53 percent of total annual production of rice. The output estimate comes at a time when farmers are waiting to start harvesting of Aman paddy, the second biggest crop.
Growers, after suffering from losses for the repeated foods during the plantation season, cultivated Aman paddy on 54 lakh hectares this season, down 2.32 percent from 55.83 lakh hectares the previous season, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and BBS data.
“The condition of Aman crop is very good. We expect higher yield this year than the previous year,” said Alhaz Uddin Ahmed, additional director for monitoring and implementation at field services wing of the DAE.
He said increased production of Aus and Aman can help recover 40 to 50 percent of the loss of rice from floods in haor areas. On recent heavy rainfall, Ahmed said the yield would not be affected because of the sunny weather in the last two days.
Between July 1 and October 18, public and private sector import of rice stood at 12.96 lakh tonnes. The amount of rice imported in 2016-17 was 1.33 lakh tonnes.