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Bangladesh has no food crunch: WB


Published : 19 Aug 2022 11:56 PM

Bangladesh has no food shortage despite different countries of the world are facing food crisis, according to a latest report of the World Bank.

According to the World Bank's South Asia Food Security Update, various steps taken by the ruling government to increase food production have placed Bangladesh in this advantageous position. 

The World Bank has given this information about Bangladesh in its latest report on “Food Security Update”.

According to the report, South Asian countries are suffering from inflation at the highest level while Bangladesh is in an advantageous position as there was no food shortage until July, 2022.

Meanwhile, food insecurity is endemic throughout Afghanistan, with 53 percent of households having insufficient food consumption.

Although most basic food and nonfood items are available, increasing global energy and food prices (constituting about half of the country’s imports), combined with the drought’s impact on agriculture, continue to drive inflation in Afghanistan. 

High food and nonfood prices remain the most-reported barriers to accessing markets. Year-on-year inflation in the CPI is estimated to be 15.4 percent, driven mainly by year-on-year food inflation of 23.2 percent.

Food price inflation remains at a multiyear high in South Asian countries. 

As of July, 2022, Bangladesh and Nepal had not experienced major food shortages, Pakistan has experienced some decreases in wheat and rice production (because of lack of fertilizer and a heat wave), and Bhutan and Sri Lanka are experiencing significant shortages in domestic food supply. 

In Sri Lanka, agricultural production has decreased by 40 percent to 50 percent because of fertilizer shortages, and there is a lack of foreign exchange to purchase food. Fertilizer and fuel (for land preparation, transport, and harvesting activities) shortages are expected to limit the food supply. 

Some relief is coming from the first shipment of 44,000 tonnes of urea supported by Indian credit (and 21,000 tonnes is expected to arrive soon). 

There has been an increase in demand for Indian rice, with roughly 9.6 million tonnes shipped this year. 

Exporters, concerned that export restrictions will be introduced (as has been done for wheat), are moving quickly to open letters of credit (LC) and have signed contracts to export 1 million tonnes of rice from June through September 2022. 

Food price inflation reached 80 percent in Sri Lanka, 26 percent in Pakistan, and 8.3 percent in Bangladesh. 

Across the region, governments have adjusted agricultural policies to address food security concerns.

The government of Bangladesh reduced rice import tariffs, increased the budgetary allocation to agriculture, increased fertilizer subsidies, and provided a cash incentive to exporters. 

In Bhutan, the government is stocking essential food items directly and through concessional working capitals to wholesalers and retailers. 

The government of Pakistan has been providing targeted subsidies and has increased coverage of social protection programmes to protect the poorest households from high food prices.