Boro yield may fall slightly this year: US agri deptHosain Ahmad
A fall in production of Boro rice in the current financial year would force the country to import more rice from international market, said a report published recently by the United States Department of Agriculture.
‘Given favourable weather conditions, Boro rice production is expected to be 18.4 million tonnes, marginally lower than the previous year’s production of 18.5 million due to slightly lower planted area,’ said the Bangladesh Grain and Feed Annual Report 2012 published by USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on February 22.
The report forecast that Bangladesh would need to import 3.6 million tonnes of foodgrains (600,000 tonnes of rice and 3 million tonnes of wheat) in the next financial year 2012-13 as the total demand would surpass the foodgrain production in the year.
Agricultural economist and BRAC executive director Mahbub Hossain agreed with the view of USDA report on forecast of lower plantation area of Boro production.
‘The report has practically noted that the plantation area of Boro production would decline marginally as the farmers were showing less interest to cultivate Boro on more lands because of lower price for the crop than the production cost,’ he said.
Mahbub said that the yield of Boro production per acre would also decline below the target if the farmers take less care of their crop field due to increase in wages and irrigation cost.
‘However, the recent increase in price of Boro rice to Tk 750 per maund may encourage the farmers to spend more for caring their planted field. It could be a good sign for increasing the yield,’ he said.
Although the rice price would be on the rise at the international market as crops damaged in the major sourcing countries like Thiland, Indonesia and Vietnam for natural calamities, recent move of Indian government to withdraw ban on export of rice to Bangladesh would bring a respite for the country, he said.
‘But the government should better think of increasing acreage of cultivation and yield through setting a price of rice before harvesting starts so that the farmer are encouraged to cultivate more to get a good price for their produce,’ he said.
The USDA report said that the yield of rice was increasing in the country in recent years as more farmers had adopted hybrid seed varieties, adopted small irrigation pumps and started to use fertilizer and agrochemicals more efficiently.
‘Assuming a normal monsoon, rice production in Bangladesh for financial year 2012-13 is forecast at 34.2 million tonnes. Rice production is estimated at 34 million tonnes in the current FY, up by 4 percent from FY 2010-11,’ the report said.
It said that the expansion of irrigated acreage for Boro crops contributed to the growth in rice production of the country but these practices were causing water table to drop by 4 to 5 feet annually.
The report mentioned that good rainfall during Aman growing period and sunny weather during harvest contributed to record production of 13.6 million tonnes despite some flooding.
The report predicted that wheat production would reach 1.2 million tonnes in FY 2012-13 from 1.1 million tonnes estimated for FY 2011-12, if the normal weather continues.
Consumption of rice including food, seed, and feed is forecast at 35 million tonnes in FY 2012-13 increasing from 34.5 million tonnes estimated for the previous year due largely to population growth.
Consumption of wheat would also increase to 4.6 million tonnes in the next FY.
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