WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Heavy and prolonged rain in Bangladesh have hurt prospects for rice area and production in the nation, according to an Oct. 30 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Total area planted to rice in Bangladesh is estimated at 11.372 million hectares in 2017-18, down from 11.748 million hectares in 2016-17, according to the USDA. Meanwhile, production of rice is forecast at 33.150 million tonnes, down from 34.578 million tonnes in 2016-17.

“Massive amounts of crops lost to flooding imposed economic hardship on millions of farmers and households,” the USDA noted in the GAIN report. “After a devastating early flash flood in March, a second monsoon caused heavy flooding in July and especially August. The flooding affected 34 districts out of 64 administrative districts of the country. Heavy late monsoon rains in the upstream provinces of Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal in India caused flooding in the north-eastern districts of Bangladesh. Out of 90 river water level monitoring stations in the country, 30 stations showed readings above the danger level of flooding. In one river, Jamuna at Bahadurabad point, the flood level reached 135 cm above the danger level, the highest flooding on record.”

Citing government of Bangladesh data, the USDA said flooding completely washed away an estimated 100,000 hectares and partially damaged another 500,000 hectares. The most affected areas were Aus rice, Aman rice, Aman rice seedbed, seedling, jute and vegetables, the USDA said.

Bangladesh, which once was a major rice producer, has become a major rice importer, the USDA said. Bangladesh currently has several government-to-government rice import deals in place, including with Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, India and Thailand, the USDA noted in the report. In the case of India, it is the first rice trade deal between the countries in a decade.