Food grain reserves adequate

Bangladesh has adequate reserves of rice, wheat, potatoes, pulses and maize to meet the domestic demands. With the current stock Bangladesh has the capacity to meet the domestic demand of rice up to mid-December this year.

With the current reserve, the domestic demands of wheat, potato, edible oil, pulses and maize can be met up to January 21, April 7, November 21, February 7 and April 30 pf next year respectively.

Speakers came up with the remarks at a webinar on ‘food reserve and trade during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh’ in Dhaka on Monday (05 October). 

Press Institute Bangladesh (PIB) arranged the webinar with the financial and technical assistance from Food and Agriculture Organization Bangladesh (FAO). It was the 4th webinar of the 5-webinar series on the different aspects of food and nutrition security issues. 

Dr Mohammad Monirul Hasan, Market and Trade Policy Advisor, Meeting the Undernutrition Challenge (MUCH), FAO, delivered a presentation on the domestic and international food reserves at the webinar. 

Dr Hasan said the harvest of Boro rice was estimated to 6.5 percent higher in 2019-20 over the preceding year. With 1.245 million tonnes of wheat that has been produced in 2019-20, a three-year high, along with over 5.1 million tonnes of planned imports, Bangladesh can comfortably meet the current demands. 

Some 2.20 lakh tonnes of paddy and 7.67 lakh tonnes of rice has been procured against the government procurement target of 8 lakh tonnes of paddy and 11.5 lakh tonnes of rice during the current Boro procurement season (May to September). Compared to the June 2019, there had been a shortfall by over 31% in the public procurement of paddy/rice in June 2020, he also mentioned, he added. 

Dr Monirul further said a total of 64.5 thousand tonnes of wheat has been procured against the government procurement target of 75 thousand tonnes. 

He suggested that government should initiate timely import of wheat to smooth operation of Public Food Distribution System (PFDS). 

With over 11 million tonnes of production, there was surplus of potato in the domestic market. In the case of maize, with the current reserves Bangladesh can easily meet domestic demands for the next 10 months, Dr Monirul added. 

On edible oil, Dr Monirul said Bangladesh was dependent on import. The domestic production of oilseed is inadequate and a large amount of palm and soybean are imported every year.

Bhaskar Goswami, Planning and Coordination Specialist (Food and Nutrition Security), Meeting the Undernutrition Challenge (MUCH), FAO, delivered another presentation on trade in food commodities. 

Bhaskar Goswami said food price in global market dropped sharply and remained low druing January-May 2020 and overall food prices were rising from June 2020. 

Naoki Minamiguchi, Chief Technical Adviser, Meeting the Undernutrition Challenge (MUCH) Project, FAO, delivered opening remarks at the webinar with Zafar Wazed, Director General, Press Institute Bangladesh, in the chair. Professor Mohammad Mizanul Haque Kazal, National Poverty & Social Protection Policy Advisor, Meeting the Under Nutrition Challenge project, FAO, delivered vote of thanks. 

 A total of 30 journalists who cover agriculture sector took part in the webinar.