Mohammad Jahangir Alam, a professor of agribusiness and marketing department at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) who was involved in the research, said there should not be any crisis in the country despite the low production of rice.

“Still we see the rice prices rising. We found, while investigating the reasons, that the prices are not falling down due to the rice millers’ tendency of making high profits,” he said.  

The professor suggested that the government gear up its monitoring on the rice mills with a high storage capacity and take action for flouting the storage law. 

The research team said the sudden floods in the haor areas have destroyed around 800,000 tonnes of rice while the Aman crops received rainfalls less by 40 per cent than the normal level this monsoon. The cyclone Sitrang also damaged the Aman crops, which eventually resulted in low production.  

The BRRI research presented a picture of rice production in the country from 2010 to 2021. It showed that the production was 33.7 million tonnes in 2010 and it jumped to 36.7 million tonnes in 2014. The production dropped in the following two years, but returned to the gaining streak in 2017 with a production of 36.7 million tonnes.  

The production reached 38.4 million tonnes in 2021 and is now expected to decline to 36 million tonnes in 2022, the research said, indicating a year-on-year drop of 2.4 million tonnes.    

The scientists at the BRRI have so far developed some 108 varieties of rice, where 28 are hostile-environment resilient. The high-yield varieties (Ufshi) are being cultivated in 92 per cent of crop fields across the country while 4 per cent of fields are being used to grow the local varieties. 

The cultivation of Ufshi varieties is rising at a rate of around 5 per cent while the reliance on low-yield local varieties is declining at a rate of 4 per cent. 

On the whole, the rice production is rising at a rate of 2.83 per cent. 

According to the research, the farmers counted Tk 24.31 for growing each kg of paddy this Aman season and the amount is calculated at Tk 26.1 for each kg of Boro paddy. However, they receive a gross amount of Tk 30.8 for each kg of paddy. 

Nazneen Ahmed, country economist of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangladesh, said several natural disasters damaged paddy and other crops this year. It forced the government to slash the import duty on rice in an effort to reduce its price in the local market. 

But there should be a single and reliable data on the production of rice and other food grains, to understand the clear picture as to how much rice the country should import, she said, adding that it should be coordinated with a government agency.