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Covid-19 may lead to food stock fall in Bangladesh

Food production and food stock may fall in the next market year in Bangladesh, especially rice and cereal, because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

It made the forecast in its biannual publication "Food Outlook" released this week.

Import dependency of Bangladesh

According to FAO's calculation from 2015 to 2017, the average food import dependency of Bangladesh was eight to 12 percent.

The recent projection said that Bangladesh would import 6.1 million tonnes of wheat in 2020-21, which is 3.8 percent higher than the average of the last two years.

Moreover, significant import drop by Algeria would make Bangladesh the fifth-highest wheat importer globally.

Overall, global wheat production would face a downward trend.

When the Covid-19 outbreak occurred, paddy production had already entered the harvesting stage in Asia. As a result, global production was projected to increase to 508.7 million tonnes in 2020, which is 1.6 percent higher than in 2019.

Overall, rice trade would increase by 47.6 million tonnes in 2020, which is 6.2 percent more than in 2019.

However, Bangladesh, the third leading producer of rice, would see a 0.2 percent decline in rice production during the same period. Moreover, the country would import 7.9 million tonnes of cereal and 0.2 million tonnes of rice in 2020-21.

Additionally, global sugar production would decline by 2.9 percent, but sugar trade would increase by 5.3percent in 2019-20, compared to 2018-19.

Drop in food stocks

In Bangladesh, cereal ending stock would decrease by 0.7 million tonnes, which is the highest amount.

Rice stock would reduce to six million tonnes from 6.5 million tonnes in 2021, which indicates an 8.33 percent fall in stock. This may threaten the food security of the country.

According to FAO, Bangladesh is not a major exporter or importer of sugar, oil crops, meat, and meat products.

Globally, wheat, cereal, coarse grain ending stock, which refers to inventory amount at the end of the market year, were projected to increase while rice, sugar, and oil crops were projected to fall.