Rice production in the immediate past boro season shot up to a new high of 1.95 crore tonnes, pulling the total output of the staple to 3.62 crore tonnes in the immediate past fiscal year, enough to meet domestic demand.
The latest production estimate of boro is 8.67 percent higher than 1.80 crore tonnes harvested in 2016-17, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
“Based on the production figures, we should have a surplus of about 30 lakh tonnes,” said Md Shahjahan Kabir, director general of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), the state agency responsible for developing improved rice varieties.
The BRRI estimates that the country's annual demand for rice stands at 3.30 crore tonnes.
“The area for plantation increased in the last boro season. There is also improvement in the yield,” Kabir said.
Farmers grew rice on 48.59 lakh hectares of land in the last boro season, up 8.58 percent from a year ago, BBS data showed.
Areas dedicated to the previous two crops – aus and aman – had also risen amid farmers' enthusiasm to cultivate rice on the back of higher prices prevailing in the domestic market for more than a year.
Rice production in the aus season shot up 27 percent year-on-year to 27.09 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. Aman output rose 2.46 percent to 1.39 crore tonnes in the just concluded fiscal year.
Kabir said the increased area for plantation, favourable weather, and increased use of quality seed contributed to the good crops.
He said farmers and agricultural extension officials were trained on safe boro cultivation in the haor areas in the northeast region following floods that washed away crops in 2017 boro season.
BRRI's 78 scientists and officials of state-run Department of Agricultural Extension were in the field to monitor the crop situation and tackle pest attacks and other problems quickly. The government continuously monitored the cultivation situation, he said.
Kabir said aus paddy, which is now on the field, also looks promising and its acreage has increased further this year, spurred by the higher price and the government's incentive to promote the farming of the crop.
DAE data showed that aus area under plantation exceeded the target of 11.40 lakh hectares in 2018-19.
As a result, aus production will rise, said Kabir, adding that transplantation has completed on 20 percent of the area so far.
The boro season starts in December-February and ends in April-May.
Planting of aus starts in April-May and the harvesting takes place in July-August, while the aman season begins in April-May and ends in November-December.