- USDA lowers Bangladesh rice yield forecast.
- The Boro rice production estimate is lowered to 17.8 MMT on crop losses caused by neck blast disease.
- The crop loss was further aggravated by a fungi attack.
An expected smaller harvest of Boro rice has led to a lowering in the rice production forecast for Bangladesh, according to a July 13 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Rice production in Bangladesh for the 2017-18 was forecasted at 34.18 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT), down from 34.578 MMT in 2016-17. “The Boro rice production estimate is lowered to 17.8 MMT on crop losses caused by neck blast disease as well as adverse weather, including hailstorms and repeated flash floods, during an unusually heavy pre-monsoon rain 20 days before harvest: heavy rainfall fell from late March to the middle of May,” the USDA noted in the report. “The flooding damaged over 1MMT of Boro rice crop across 400,000 hectares of wetlands (in Haor) and lowlands in nine districts.”
According to the USDA, the rainfall in Bangladesh during April was the highest in 35 years, and the crop loss was aggravated by a fungi attack on a limited area of Boro rice crop at several northern and southern districts of the country. As of 30 June 2017, the rice stocks at public granaries were at 0.15 MMT which were lowest level in last six years. Although the government raised its rice procurement target in the financial year 2017-18 to 1.2 MMT up from 1MMT in FY 2016-17, the budget of FY 18 will increase distributions of subsidised rice by 0.85 MMT, which will largely offset the increased procurement and leave rice stocks dangerously low, the USDA said.