Bangladesh Wheat: Can Ukraine Overtake India?
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Wheat planting in Bangladesh occurs in November and December, with harvesting in March and April. The reduced duration of the winter season and lack of promising varieties affect wheat yields; therefore, area and production are gradually decreasing. MY 2022/2023, the USDA forecasts wheat harvested area at 310 thousand hectares and production at 1.10 million tons. The USDA estimates MY 2021/2022 wheat harvested area at 320 thousand hectares.
The wheat output was recorded at 1.08 million tonnes in FY’21 in, a fall from 1.30 million tonnes in FY’14, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data. “Wheat area and production have gradually been decreasing as farmers are switching to alternative crops that provide higher economic returns, such as maize, potato, vegetables or Boro rice,” says Chairman of Agrarian Research Foundation, Bangladesh Prof M A Hamid. The agriculture researcher added: The wheat land shrunk to just 0.3 million hectares in recent years from 0.46 million hectares a decade back. The agriculture ministry will have to fix a strategic target for wheat production.
Farm economist Dr. Md Akteruzzaman says policy should be made to raise the wheat-farming area to its previous stage in the next few years, and then lifting output further could be thought of. The Wheat and Maize Research Centre (BWMRI) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), along with local extension officials, will have to work intensely with farmers to boost wheat production.
He noted that the southern regions have enough land where target should be fixed to bring at least 0.5 million hectares of land for wheat farming by adopting salinity-tolerant crop.
For MY 2022/2023, total wheat consumption forecast is 8.5 million tons due to lower imports and high prices of wheat in the domestic market. MY 2021/2022 total wheat consumption was 8.4 million tons. The cattle feed industry also consumes wheat. For MY 2022/202, the USDA forecasts feed and residual use of wheat at 600 thousand tons. The USDA reduced feed and residual use by around 14 percent from its previous forecast of higher prices driving down its inclusion in cattle feed.
Imports increased to 6.0-7.0 million tons, worth the $1.4 billion to $2.0 billion, in recent years, according to official statistics. For MY 2022/2023, The USDA forecasts wheat imports at 7 million tons. They revised its wheat import forecast down from its previous projection on lower supply and higher prices of wheat in the world market. MY 2021/2022 wheat import estimate is 6.5 million tons.
As per AgFlow data, India is the largest import market of Bangladesh wheat, with 0.9 million tons in 2021-2022. Ukraine is nearly behind (0.9 million tons), followed by Russia (0.5 million tons), Australia (0.3 million tons), and Canada (0.2 million tons).
Bangladesh Wheat Prices
The higher international price of wheat, supply chain disruptions, the Russia-Ukraine war, and India’s wheat export ban jointly contributed to record-high wheat and wheat flour prices in Bangladesh. Depreciation of the Bangladesh taka against the U.S. dollar is also increasing the price of wheat flour, as most wheat is imported. In July 2022, the average retail price of unpacked coarse wheat flour (also called aata) was BDT 44 ($0.48) per kilogram, up approximately 40 percent from July last year.
Wheat and wheat flour prices rose sharply due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and India’s May 13, 2022 wheat export ban, implemented without prior notice, further aggravated them. In May 2022, the average retail price of unpacked coarse wheat flour hit BDT 48 ($0.52) per kilogram, a record high.
Other sources: https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/
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