Rice production to decline marginally
Bangladesh's rice production may decline in marketing year (MY) 2022-23, which began in May, as severe floods damaged pre-monsoon crop Aus in the north and northeastern regions during planting, said a USDA report released on Monday.
Around 3.56 crore tonnes of rice are expected to be produced in MY23, down one per cent from that in the previous period, said US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its "Bangladesh: Grain and Feed Update".
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has not published its production estimate for the dry season crop, Boro, and Aus, harvested in the April-May and July-August periods of this year respectively.
But the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) estimates production of Boro and Aus to be higher than the USDA's estimate.
The US agency's estimate of rice output for the MY22 was five per cent lower than the BBS's estimate of 3.77 crore tonnes.
Despite the fall, overall consumption and stocks left afterwards is forecasted to increase one per cent year-on-year to 3.65 crore tonnes in the MY23.
The forecast comes at a time when prices of the staple grain has remained high as supplies remain tight in the market amidst a dip in imports.
Wheat imports declined too in the three months to the end of September from that a year ago.
Price of wheat flour touched Tk 54.65 per kilogramme in October, the highest on record, showed the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data.
Average prices of coarse rice were Tk 47.47 per kilogramme in October in Dhaka, which was 9 per cent higher from that a year ago, according to the FAO.
The USDA said high cost of milling and transportation, appreciation of the US dollar, and high inflation has caused the prices of rice to rise.
It said in the current year, both area and production of Aus rice crop declined owing to the inundation of water during the cultivation season.
Acreage during Aus season declined 20 per cent to 9 lakh hectares of land during the MY23, leading to a 24 per cent downturn in production to 20.5 lakh tonnes, said the US agency. The DAE puts the Aus production figure at 30 lakh tonnes.
Production of rice during the largest crop season of Boro, however, grew as planting expanded.
Farmers bagged 1.97 crore tonnes of rice during the season, up two per cent from that the previous year, according to the USDA report.
The DAE said Boro output was nearly 2.10 crore tonnes in the current year.
Growers are likely to produce 1.39 crore tonnes of rice during the Aman season.
The US agency said the monsoon crop, heavily reliant on rains, has been planted on 58 lakh hectares of land this season. The estimate of Aman acreage is lower than the DAE's estimate.
The USDA kept its forecasts unchanged regarding Bangladesh's rice import for the MY23.
It said the cereal import might drop 42 per cent year-on-year to 7.5 lakh tonnes.
It also cut wheat import forecasts for Bangladesh for current MY23 ending in April.