DHAKA, BANGLADESH — Heavy rain has impeded Bangladesh’s rice production for the 2020-21 marketing year, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Heavy rains and flooding in June and July 2020 led to a 15% rice crop loss, increasing rice prices in the second half of 2020. The USDA forecasts Bangladesh’s rice production to total 34.8 million tonnes in the 2020-21 marketing year, a 2.93% decrease compared to the previous year. Rice imports are expected to be 600,000 tonnes to replenish the country’s publicly held rice stocks and reduce domestic rice prices. 

Wheat production for the 2020-21 marketing year is buoyed slightly to 1.22 million tonnes due to improved farming techniques and use of high yielding wheat varieties. The USDA estimate for Bangladesh’s wheat imports for the 2020-21 marketing year remains unchanged at 6.6 million tonnes. Wheat imports are a bit slower with the July 2020 to January 2021 imports totaled 2.99 million tonnes, 30% lower than the 4.2 million tonnes imported in the same period of the 2019-20 marketing year. The USDA attributed the slowdown to high wheat prices, increased freight cost lowered demand in the food processing industry and continued COVID-19 restrictions.

Bangladesh’s corn production for the 2020-21 marketing year is expected to jump 12.22% to 4.6 million tonnes due to the utilization of hybrid corn varieties and favorable weather. The country’s corn imports for the 2020-21 marketing year are forecast to total 1.8 million tonnes.