Bangladesh Soybean: Demand From Nepal, India, and Thailand


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In Bangladesh, Soybean was introduced around 1942, although no particular attempts were made to popularize the crop or to conduct research on it until 1960–61. In 1961, the pulses and Oilseeds division of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) selected two Soybean varieties (Pelican and Barnali) to increase fallow land cultivation in the kharif-2 season. However, by the following year, these were found to be susceptible to the yellow mosaic virus, and production ceased.

Soybean was reintroduced into Bangladesh by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in 1972–73. In 1975, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), in collaboration with BARI, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), Bangladesh Council of Science and Industrial Research (BCSIR), and MCC initiated the ‘Bangladesh Coordinated Soybean Research Project’ to investigate Soybean’s potential as a food crop. In 1981, this culminated in releasing the Bragg and Davis varieties of Soybean12. However, these were also afflicted by the yellow mosaic virus and are no longer recommended for cultivation. Between 1991 and 2021, ten high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of Soybean were released by BARI, BAU, and MCC.

In Bangladesh, Soybean is mainly cultivated in the districts of Noakhali, Lakshmipur, and Bhola by farmers following one of two cropping patterns: Aman rice – Soybean – fallow, or spring Aus rice/jute – Soybean – fallow/wheat/mustard/lentil/ chickpea. No research findings on cropping patterns exist for other areas of Bangladesh. Some constraints to Soybean cultivation exist in Bangladesh, including climate variability, sOil condition, competition with other crops for scarce resources, and high pests and disease infestation rates. Other challenges include:

  • lack of quality seed/poor seed germination;
  • no guarantee of timely availability of quality seed or its supply to farmers;
  • sOil salinity, particularly in the coastal belt;
  • lack of advanced agronomic management knowledge needed for crop production;
  • lack of knowledge among the general population of Soybean’s nutritional advantages;
  • tendency to pod shattering (resulting in 10%–70% yield loss);
  • over-reliance by a farmer on manual planting, weeding, harvesting, threshing, drying, and storing;
  • a marketing system and supply chain are not firmly established.
Bangladesh Soybeans: Demand From Nepal, India, and Thailand

Bangladesh Soybean and By-product Import

Bangladesh’s Soybean import is projected to rise by 7.7 percent year-on-year to 28 lakh tons in the 2022-23 fiscal year, according to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Moreover, the import of Soybean Meal and Oil may slightly increase this fiscal year due to a rise in the supply and crushing of Soybean seeds in Bangladesh.

The total demand for Soybean Meal in Bangladesh is an estimated at 2.5 to 2.6-million tons per year. 75-80 percent of the needs are procured from domestic Soybean Oil producers. The country imports an estimated 0.35-0.4 million tons of Soybean Meal annually. About 70-75 percent of the total cost of producing eggs, fish, and poultry is spent on buying feed.

According to the AgFlow data, Brazil supplied 0.8 million tons of Soybeans to Bangladesh in 2022, followed by the United States (0.6 million tons) and Canada (81,000 tons). In Jan-Feb, the country imported 174,751 tons of Soybeans. In FY23, around 775,000 tons of Soybean Oil will be imported, which was 750,000 tons the last year. And Soybean Meal imports are also projected to rise slightly to 400,000 tons by this time.

Riding on the increased Soybean import, around 29 lakh tons of Oilseeds will be crushed this fiscal year, which will be 5.5 percent more than last year. The domestic consumption of Soybean Oil will also rise by 2.71 percent year-on-year to 13.25 lakh tons. As per the minutes of a Commerce Ministry meeting, there is demand for Bangladeshi Soybean cake, Meal, and Soybean in different countries, including Nepal, Cambodia, India, and Thailand.


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